Jonathan Akeroyd is chief executive of Gianni Versace SpA, a post he has held since June 2016. His appointment came at a time when many believed Versace was preparing for an IPO, and sought to capitalise on the brand’s newly found creative momentum and the effects of the €210 million cash injection raised from The Blackstone Group in 2014. Prior to his Versace appointment, he enjoyed a 12-year tenure as the chief executive at Alexander McQueen where he oversaw significant expansion, including the rollout of accessories and fragrance lines and the launch of the McQ diffusion line in 2010, and steered the brand through the death of its founding designer.
Akeroyd’s career in retail began while working as a store manager at Harrods in London. Over the course of 15 years the experienced retailer steadily rose through the ranks, culminating at merchandising director of the luxury department store before being approached by the Gucci Group to take the helm at Alexander McQueen. Appointed in 2004, he successfully steered the brand’s growth and strategic development through one of its most turbulent periods. Having helped the brand to break even less than three years after his appointment, Akeroyd has since overseen one of the brands most profitable periods, driven by the launch of an accessories range, the McQ diffusion line and in 2010, the successful appointment of Sarah Burton as creative director, following the death of Alexander McQueen.
In 2013 Akeroyd announced the brand’s strategic partnership with P&G Prestige to develop fragrances under the Alexander McQueen label. Akeroyd also drove the brand’s extensive store expansion with new flagships launched in Beijing, Shanghai, San Francisco, Miami and Hong Kong since 2011. The first McQ store was also launched on London’s Dover Street in 2012, followed by a flagship menswear store on Saville Row.
In May 2016 he succeeded Gian Giacomo Ferraris as Gianni Versace SpA’s chief executive. Vice president and artistic director Donatella Versace said in a statement, "Jonathan brings a proven track record in building global brands, steering growth and driving strategic development... [his] industry expertise and vision will be key to advancing the next phase of Versace's development."
Akeroyd’s first major move in his new role was to remove Versace from the official Paris couture schedule, a shake-up he announced on the eve of Spring 2017 couture week. The chief executive cited stress and relevancy, rather than budget, as the stimulus behind the decision, and explained that instead of a couture show, the brand would hold a number of “major client events” during the year in cities around the world. He has also expressed the goal of eventually becoming a one-billion-euro brand.