As the former chief executive of the Valentino Fashion Group, Stefano Sassi oversaw one of the luxury label’s most expansive international growth and development strategies that hit the €1 billion revenue mark. Its engine of growth consists of several directly owned store openings in Brazil, Australia, Asia and the Middle East as well as a successful restructuring of ownership with Qatari investment firm Mayhoola in 2012. The brand’s retail presence now spans over 100 countries, with 175 mono brand stores included in its 1500 sales points.
Sassi’s arrival at the Valentino Group in 2006 marked a new era for the brand, which saw the modernisation of the brand’s image and creative output. This came following the highly-publicised retirement of Valentino Garavani in 2007. Sassi headed the house through the appointment of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli as creative co-directors of Valentino, succeeding a short tenure by Alessandra Facchinetti. This lead up to Piccioli’s sole takeover with Chiuri’s departure just a year later. At this time, Sassi primarily oversaw the groups’ majority stakehold in Hugo Boss and Lebole, as well as licensing deals for M Missoni. In 2007 Sassi was also announced as chairman of Proenza Schouler following the group’s 45 percent investment in the New York-based label. He was then elected as one of four vice presidents of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion in 2013.
The purveyor of luxury clothing ventured into beauty, striking two licensing deals with Puig to launch its first collection of perfumes, followed by L’Oréal to launch a beauty range in 2018. Shifting into the accessory market, the brand subsequently launched Valentino Occhiali, its eyewear line. In 2012, the brand debuted its menswear collection at Paris Fashion Week and the following year, opened its New York City flagship store architected by the British interior designer David Chipperfield.
As part of its global expansion strategy, Valentino tapped the Chinese market via its growing e-commerce platform with a virtual pop-up store on Tmall’s Luxury Pavillion app in 2018. Following the virtual touchpoint, Valentino further launched a physical pop-up shop in Beijing to debut its limited edition Candystud bag. The China venture also marked an executive shift, as Gianfranco Ditadi, former regional manager of Tod’s business in China was appointed as the brand’s chief executive officer in North America. Assisting with its global expansion, Sebastian Suhl, who previously oversaw Marc Jacob’s international strategy, joined Valentino. In keeping its core heritage values, albeit with a modern adaptation, Valentino partnered with Birkenstock to add a twist to the footwear label’s famed Arizona sandal. The collection made its debut at the Men’s Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/2020.
An experienced executive, Sassi previously held senior positions at Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm, Cerruti Group as general manager and Marzotto S.P.A, as the chief executive officer of the Italian textiles and apparel manufacturing company.