Home Featured Sergio Rossi Appoints Helen Wright to CEO Post – WWD

Sergio Rossi Appoints Helen Wright to CEO Post – WWD

Sergio Rossi Appoints Helen Wright to CEO Post – WWD

MILAN — Sergio Rossi has found a new, permanent chief executive officer in Helen Wright, WWD has learned.

A fashion veteran who boasts a 25-plus-year career in the industry, Wright succeeds Paul Kotrba, who stayed at the Italian luxury footwear brand for seven months in the interim CEO position succeeding Riccardo Sciutto, who exited Sergio Rossi last May. Kotrba’s next move could not immediately be learned.

Wright quietly joined the brand based in San Mauro Pascoli, a key footwear district in Italy, and owned by Lanvin Group, on Nov. 22.

She is tasked with spearheading a “strategic transformation of the house,” the company said, focusing on collection content, the optimization of distribution channels, brand visibility and execution, furthering the shoe label’s footprint in key markets such as North America, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Greater China.

“I am very pleased to join Sergio Rossi. More than a precious heritage brand, Sergio Rossi has been an industry reference for the highest quality and style in handmade, luxury footwear, Made in Italy, since its foundation in San Mauro Pascoli in 1951,” Wright said in a statement. “With the support and know-how of its specialist teams, valued business partners and shareholders, the brand now turns squarely toward the future. We have important new horizons and new audiences to reach as we revitalize this great company. We’re inspired by our past and motivated by the bright future we have already started to build together.”

The Australia-born executive began in the fashion industry at department store group David Jones, where she held several executive positions across retail, operations and merchandise for more than 10 years. After relocating to London in 1999, she held management roles at Ralph Lauren, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as president of Europe, the Middle East and India at Fendi, and global vice president of retail at Karl Lagerfeld.

Helen Wright, the new CEO at Sergio Rossi.

Courtesy of Sergio Rossi

In 2015 she was named CEO of London-based accessories brand Anya Hindmarch, before in 2018 joining heritage outerwear company Belstaff. She most recently served as CEO of Bloch International, an Australia-based technical dance footwear and apparel company.

As reported, Sergio Rossi’s sales last year amounted to 61.9 million euros. In the first half of 2023, its parent Lanvin Group said revenues at the luxury footwear firm increased 22.4 percent to 33 million euros compared to the same period in 2022.

In January last year, Sergio Rossi recruited from the digital creative realm Evangelie Smyrniotaki, best known online as Style Heroine, naming her artistic director, overseeing the brand image and identity.

In December 2021, the footwear brand was revealed as among the tenants of Milan’s Spiga 26 real estate project, which bowed last year, a move in sync with the new owner’s commitment to invest in store openings. Sergio Rossi has a worldwide distribution network of 61 stores between directly operated units and franchising stores.

Lanvin Group, then known as Fosun Group, took control of the shoemaker in the summer of 2021 from Absolute Luxury Holding Srl, an independently managed subsidiary of European investment house Investindustrial, its former owner. The latter acquired Sergio Rossi from Kering in December 2015.

In addition to the footwear label, the Shanghai-based Lanvin Group, which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last December, comprises the flagship Lanvin brand as well as Austrian hosiery specialist Wolford, Italian menswear company Caruso and American fashion brand St. John.