Rahat Kapur
Sep 4, 2023

Gucci appoints new chief brand officer in latest creative shake-up for the luxury house

The brand takes a pivot both strategically and creatively as their former worldwide communications head, Alessio Vannetti, returns following a three-year stint heading branding for Valentino.

Photo: Unsplash.
Photo: Unsplash.

Gucci has announced its former head of global communications, Alessio Vannetti, as executive vice president and chief brand officer, effective today. Vannetti, who spent four years at Gucci in his former role in communications from 2015 to 2019, returns after a three-year stint at Valentino, where he also led branding.

Vannetti’s appointment comes amidst a series of strategic leadership changes at Gucci, with CEO Marco Bizzarri stepping down this month, and Vannetti succeeding Susan Chokachi, who is leaving after 25 years with the luxury house.

In his new role as chief branding officer, Vanetti will be responsible for oversight and operations related to all aspects of Gucci’s branding, as well as its client engagement teams. He will also oversee and direct its image direction, marketing, communications, and metaverse strategies.

Gucci's new chief brand officer, Alessio Vannetti. Photo: Getty Images

A fashion-industry veteran, Vannetti has held several prestigious roles in the branding space within the luxury industry, including being the former head of strategic projects and senior press office manager at Prada, and as Zegna’s communication director.

Vannetti will report to Jean-François Palus, Kering Group’s managing director—who is holding the CEO role after Bizzarri’s exit in an interim capacity. 

Gucci faces a potential repositioning in the global market, with their creative direction also set to pivot following the departure of their revered former creative director Alessandro Michele. Evolving the brand into a red-carpet favourite and inciting a consumer boom through collaboration partnerships with the likes of Harry Styles and Adidas, Michele is credited with re-inventing the Gucci's image over the last eight years, as well as reviving its couture presence with his signature maximalist, colourful styles.

Michele’s era also resulted in a significant uptick of the brand’s profits, with Gucci accounting for more than half of the Kering Group’s total revenue in 2022—up 1% to USD$5.5 billion as reported in the first half of 2023.

Former Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele. Photo: Getty Images

The coveted position of creative director has since been handed to Sabato de Sarno, a Naples-born designer who at 39 years old, was the unexpected choice (much like Michele himself when appointed in 2015). Prior to his new position, De Sarno oversaw menswear and womenswear under Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino, as well as having stints as Dolce and Gabbana and Prada, but comes with limited experience in independently overseeing collections. De Sarno is due to present his debut collection at Milan Fashion Week this month.

Sabato De Sarno. Photo: Riccardo Raspa

The Kering Group (who also own the likes of Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga) are no strangers to relative "outsider" appointments, having made a series of out-of-the-box decisions for brand direction in the past, including incredibly successful creative heads for Balenciaga (up until recently, Demna Gvasalia) and Bottega Veneta (Matthieu Blazy).

The conglomerate also recently acquired a 30% stake in Valentino for USD$1.8 billion, with a possibility to wholly own the luxury house by 2028. 



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