Unilever executive named Gucci chairman

21st April 2004, Comments 0 comments

AMSTERDAM, April 21 (AFP) - Robert Polet, a former executive of the Anglo-Dutch food group Unilever, has been named chairman of the luxury fashion house Gucci, replacing Domenico De Sole, Gucci said Wednesday.

AMSTERDAM, April 21 (AFP) - Robert Polet, a former executive of the Anglo-Dutch food group Unilever, has been named chairman of the luxury fashion house Gucci, replacing Domenico De Sole, Gucci said Wednesday.

In early March, Gucci tapped four in-house designers to replace star Tom Ford, who decided along with De Sole to leave the world's third biggest fashion group following a disagreement with parent company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR).

Polet, a 48-year-old Dutch national, worked for 26 years at Unilever, and was head of its ice cream and frozen foods unit for the past three years.

The division posted average annual sales of USD 7.8 billion (EUR 6.6 billion).

"During his more than three years at the head of this operation, margins increased by 70 percent," Gucci noted.

PPR had already said it wanted to replace de Sole with someone who had "a solid financial culture".

On Wednesday PPR chairman Serge Weingberg said of Polet: "His international background, his broad experience in developing brands, his entrepreneurial and managerial talents and his ability to be both a leader and team player make him an ideal choice to run Gucci Group."

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Polet joined Unilever in 1978. His career in marketing and management saw him posted in Paris, Milan, Hamburg and Brussels.

Married and father of two girls, he is fluent in Dutch, German, English, French and Italian.

Polet was quoted by the statement as saying Gucci's brands were iconic names in the fashion and luxury fields, adding: "I consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be entrusted with their development."

He termed the job of succeeding De Sole a great challenge, and is to take over at Gucci at the end of the month.

© AFP

                                              Subject: French news

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