Luxury stationery, leather goods and accessories company Smythson has named Paolo Porta as its new CEO, effective immediately.
Porta has had a number of high-profile positions at well-known brands in his career, including being CEO at boots specialist Hunter, Senior VP of Merchandising and Licensing at Jimmy Choo, and roles at Burberry, Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. These took in merchandising, retail buying and management, wholesale distribution and brand development.
Smythson is part of Italy’s Tivoli Group.
Stefano Giacomelli, Chairman of Smythson and CEO of Tivoli Group, said: “I’m delighted that Paolo is joining the brand to take on the role of CEO. Thanks to his extensive expertise in global lifestyle companies, he is ideally placed to lead such a distinctive and renowned brand as Smythson. Under Paolo’s leadership, the brand is primed to begin a new chapter in its development through the strengthening of its traditional markets in the UK and Europe but in particular, to expand its presence in new, strategic markets such as the United States and Asia”.
And Porta added: “I’m proud to be given the chance to contribute to the further growth and development of Smythson, which I have always admired and which represents over 130 years of the finest British luxury. Smythson’s potential is both vast and unique.”
Under its new top exec, the company is focusing on international growth with Giacomelli telling FashionNetwork.com that America has potential to be bigger than Europe for the brand.
It’s looking to widen its distribution globally, without losing its quality image, and sees Asia as important too. It will also consolidate its existing presence in the UK and European markets.
The company has had patchy results in recent periods, with sales suffering in the first year of the pandemic, but recovering in the year to March 2022, despite it still being loss-making, it reported only last month.
At the same time the company also said that digital growth was continuing and US growth was in double-digits.
But the UK remains its biggest market where it has eight stores in key upscale shopping districts in London as well as in Heathrow Airport. This year, the brand also opened a corner at the Le Bon Marché department store in Paris.
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