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Matchesfashion taps Paolo de Cesare as new CEO

By Huw Hughes

Sep 21, 2021

Management

Image: Matchesfashion

London-based fashion retailer Matchesfashion has announced the appointment of Paolo de Cesare as its new CEO.

A luxury and retail veteran, de Cesare spent 12 years as president and CEO of fashion and beauty specialist Printemps Group, during which time he spearheaded a major transformation, upgrading the group’s stores and customer proposition and refocusing on luxury brands.

Earlier in his career, he spent 24 years at multinational consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble, where he held various management positions including general manager and president of the cosmetics division (Japan) and global president of skincare and fine fragrances (Switzerland).

“Matchesfashion has an incredible history and DNA, and is driving digitization of the luxury journey for its global customers,” de Cesare said in a release.

“I am confident that, with the rapid transformation and growth of the luxury market, we can continue to strengthen our position as a fashion pioneer, thereby deepening our historic brand relationships and becoming the most exciting luxury destination for our customer.”

The news comes after former chief executive Ajay Kavan exited the company in March after just a year in the role.

Kavan, who previously oversaw global initiatives for US retail giant Amazon, joined the company as CEO in March 2020, six months after the exit of former chief Ulric Jerome, and just at the beginning of the pandemic.

The company did not give a reason why he stepped down, but he said at the time: “I am proud of the team we have built at Matchesfashion. I believe in the potential of the business and the team is focused behind a clear set of goals that will further accelerate growth in the years ahead. I look forward to seeing the business go from strength to strength.”

Maureen Chiquet to return to board position

On Kavan’s departure, Maureen Chiquet, a non-executive director of Matchesfashion’s board since 2018, took on the role of executive chair during the CEO transition period. Chiquet, the former global CEO of Chanel, will return to her position on the company’s board when de Cesare begins his tenure as CEO.

Matchesfashion began its days as a single store in Wimbledon over 30 years ago and has since grown into a global e-tailer with an edit of over 600 designers, delivering to over 176 countries.

In January of this year, the company revealed it made a 5.9 million pound pre-Covid loss in 2019, compared to a small profit of 0.8 million pounds the previous year.

Revenue during the year increased 16 percent to 430.5 million pounds, compared to growth of 27 percent in 2018 and 44 percent in 2017.

Adjusted EBITDA was 4.5 million pounds compared to 14.7 million pounds a year earlier.

The company hasn’t yet published figures for how it performed during 2020.

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