The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Star designer set to leave Gucci

Amsterdam, Nov. 4 (AFP): Texan designer Tom Ford and chief executive Domenico De Sole are to leave Gucci, the fashion group they have shaped into a leading brand, company statements said today.

Ford, who is also creative director of Yves Saint Laurent fashion brand, and De Sole are to leave in April when their contracts expire and when Pinault and his PPR retail empire acquire full control of Gucci.

They had been unable to agree on new terms, statements said.

Tom Ford said in a statement from the company here: “It is with great sadness that I contemplate my future without Gucci Group. For the past 13 years, this company has been my life.”

De Sole said: “Gucci has been one of the great loves of my life. My years with the company have been an incredible journey. I would like to thank Tom, whose creative genius has made it all possible. We have been able to convert the small and troubled company I joined in 1984 into a world class luxury powerhouse.”

The fashion and luxury products industries have shown strong growth, partly through consolidation, in recent years and despite setbacks to world travel.

Pinault’s Pinault-Printemps-Redoute group owns 67 per cent of Gucci which it rescued as a so-called “white knight” investor from the clutches of predator and rival luxury retail giant LVMH. Tom Ford had been seen as a key asset in the Gucci brand, based originally in Italian leatherwear, and throughout the battle between PPR and LVMH much interest had focused on whether he would stay with the company and on his employment terms.

A committee to select successors had been set up involving PPR chairman Serge Weinberg and Gucci supervisory chairman Adrian Bellamy.

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