Kate Spade Gets New CEO to Lead Turnaround Bid at Handbag Brand

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(Bloomberg) -- Luxury conglomerate Tapestry Inc. appointed Liz Fraser as the new head of its beleaguered Kate Spade brand after the departure of Anna Bakst at the end of the year sparked a search for a new executive.

Fraser starts as chief executive officer of Kate Spade on March 1 and will take over from Joanne Crevoiserat, Tapestry’s chief financial officer who held the role on an interim basis after Bakst’s departure. Since 2018, Fraser was president of Lafayette 148, which she joined from Anne Klein, where she was CEO.

Kate Spade Gets New CEO to Lead Turnaround Bid at Handbag Brand

Tapestry shares rose about 5% in pre-market trading.

The Kate Spade fashion label has been the weaker spot within the Tapestry portfolio. The company suffered a slew of investment downgrades earlier last year with analysts pointing to the brand’s disappointing same-store sales and deteriorating near-term trends. While the retailer has acknowledged product and merchandising challenges, Tapestry CEO Jide Zeitlin said in September that investors were underestimating the potential of the handbag and accessory brand.

Tapestry also said Giorgio Sarne, currently president, Tapestry Asia and president and CEO Coach Asia, will become CEO and brand president of Stuart Weitzman, succeeding Eraldo Poletto, who decided to leave the company from March 1.

Emmanuel Ruelland, the current vice president, general manager, Tapestry Southeast Asia & Oceania, will takeover from Sarne as president of Coach Asia. Yann Bozec, currently president, Tapestry China and president and CEO of Coach China will become president, Tapestry Asia Pacific and continue as president and CEO of Coach China.

Same-store sales at Kate Spade have fallen each quarter since Tapestry acquired the label in 2017 for $2.4 billion. The business has struggled to turn things around after a period of heavy discounting and flash sales eroded the brand’s cachet. Though the situation improved last quarter, sales still slid 4%.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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