Veteran Michael Kors Executive Anna Bakst Tapped to Lead Kate Spade

Following her many years as a top executive in Michael Kors, Anna Bakst is joining the Tapestry Inc. team as CEO and president of Kate Spade.

Bakst is expected to join the company on Monday, succeeding Craig Leavitt, who announced his departure from the brand last year. In the role, the fashion veteran will be responsible for the brand’s presence worldwide and report to Tapestry CEO Victor Luis.

“The appointment of Anna Bakst marks another key step in the evolution of the Kate Spade brand,” Luis said. “She brings a rare combination of business acumen, directly related fashion experience and strong leadership skills to the company. Together with recently appointed creative director Nicola Glass, we now have the right senior management in place to lead the talented Kate Spade brand team and drive the business globally.”

Bakst boasts more than 25 years of experience as an executive in global fashion houses, most recently at Michael Kors, where she served as president of shoes and accessories until January 2017. She joined the fashion, footwear and accessories brand in 2003 after a 12-year career at Donna Karan International.

In a 2016 talk at Two Ten Footwear Foundation, Bakst shared one of the driving forces behind her work ethic: “All successful leaders flex their styles depending on the situation. There’s a part of my leadership style that feels a sense of urgency. Pace matters.”

The luxury lifestyle firm — parent company to Coach and Stuart Weitzman — acquired Kate Spade last summer, when it was known as Coach Inc. Bakst’s appointment follows a strong second quarter for the firm, in which sales and profit handily topped Wall Street’s forecasts.

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