Gucci picks Santucci successor

Italian fashion house Gucci on Tuesday named Mark Lee, 41, currently head of Yves Saint Laurent, as managing director at the turbulent luxury goods group, a British newspaper reports.

According to the Telegraph, Gucci Group—which came under full control of the French retail giant Pinault Printemps Redoute this year—announced the appointment after Giacomo Santucci, former head of the Gucci division, was fired last week. PPR has appointed James McArthur, currently director for strategy and acquisitions at Gucci Group, as interim chief executive at YSL until a successor for Lee is found.

Robert Polet, former head of Unilever’s ice cream and frozen foods division, who was made chief executive of Gucci Group only last week, said Lee was the “obvious choice.”

An American, Lee joined Gucci eight years ago after working for Giorgio Armani and luxury shoemaker Jill Sander in the U.S. He was appointed president of YSL Couture in 1999 and later took over as chief executive of the company.

Santucci became the latest in a string of departures at Gucci Group after a falling out with his new bosses at PPR. Domenico De Sole, chief executive, and Tom Ford, creative director, quit in April.

Lee was quoted in the Telegraph as saying, “While it is difficult to depart YSL, I have great confidence in the strong design and management teams that remain to carry on the work.”

Gucci Group, which includes Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney as well as the Gucci division, was rescued from the brink of bankruptcy by Ford and De Sole, who transformed it into the world’s third-largest luxury goods company.