Balenciaga Names New CEO Amidst a Creative Overhaul

PARIS — Balenciaga will welcome a new chief executive officer with a merchandising bent — and a strong track record at Yves Saint Laurent.

Confirming a report on WWD.com, parent company Kering said Cédric Charbit, currently executive vice president of product and marketing at YSL, will take  the management helm effective Nov. 28 and report to François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering.

Charbit succeeds longtime Balenciaga chief Isabelle Guichot, who will take on new responsibilities within Kering, which also counts Gucci, YSL, and Puma among its brands.

Balenciaga is in the midst of a creative overhaul under Vetements founder Demna Gvasalia, who was recruited a year ago, propelling an underground fashion hero to the helm of a storied couture label.

Gvasalia has brought strong shoulders, streetwise puffer jackets and quirky leather goods to a house that was previously led by designers Alexander Wang and Nicolas Ghesquière, the latter now devoted to women’s collections for Louis Vuitton.

Charbit, 39, becomes the second executive from YSL’s executive ranks to snag a CEO role within Kering, suggesting that finance and sales are no longer the main paths to the management peak of a modern fashion company.

Last May, Emmanuel Gintzburger took over as CEO of Alexander McQueen. He was previously YSL’s worldwide retail and wholesale director.

Charbit, who joined YSL in 2011 as director of product strategy, was promoted last May, and is also worldwide communications director.

He assumed a role with the same responsibilities that YSL CEO Francesca Bellettini held at Bottega Veneta — overseeing all aspects of merchandising, visual display and communication — before she took the management helm of YSL in 2013.

Before YSL, Charbit was deputy GM at Emilio Pucci. Previously, the Frenchman held management roles in retail — as general merchandise manager for women’s wear at Harrods in London and Printemps in Paris.

Charbit is a graduate of ESC Toulouse business school and is appreciated for his strong fashion instincts and collaborations with designers, having forged a strong bond with YSL’s previous creative director, Hedi Slimane. Anthony Vaccarello took over last April and showed his first collection during the most recent Paris Fashion Week in September.

Charbit joins Balenciaga as it gears up to mark two major milestones in 2017: the 100th anniversary of the founding of the label and the 80th anniversary of its landmark store on the Avenue George V in Paris.

Market sources estimate that Balenciaga generates revenues north of 350 million euros, or $394.5 million at current exchange, and is profitable.

The next move for Guichot, who spent nine years at the brand and managed three delicate creative transitions, was not announced. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

One senior vacancy at Kering includes CEO of the group’s luxury couture and leather-goods emerging brands following the recent exit of Grita Loebsack.

Recruited from Unilever, Loebsack had been given responsibility for Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney and Tomas Maier, but she exited after less than a year in the role.

In a statement, Kering said Guichot “made a fundamental contribution” to Balenciaga’s “growth and reputation on a global scale.”

Charbit’s mission is to support the development of the house and further accelerate its international growth, Kering added.

imbox Sponsored

Customer Experience, Revenue Stream and Sustainability Come Wrapped in an IMBOX

Sustainable, footwear protection technology company, IMBOX Protection, is bringing its in-store service to the U.S. market for increased foot traffic and basket size with a new revenue stream.
Learn More

Access exclusive content