NEW YORK — Stuart Weitzman has named vice chairman Wayne Kulkin as the company’s CEO. Kulkin will continue to report to Stuart Weitzman, executive chairman.
As CEO, Kulkin will focus on strategic global expansion and other growth opportunities for the Stuart Weitzman brand. In addition, Kulkin will assist with the selection of an executive team to support the brand's growth initiatives and develop a strategic roadmap for the future of the brand.
"Wayne has been a true partner throughout the last 23 years. His passion, creativity and business acumen have been essential in driving our growth across diverse channels, and I am confident that Wayne will be equally instrumental in his new role as CEO," said Weitzman. "Attracting senior-level talent for the hands-on, entrepreneurial culture at Stuart Weitzman will be a key part of our next phase of growth. I believe that Wayne will succeed in leading this endeavor and help ensure that the brand culture is maintained for the next generation and beyond."
"I am honored and excited to step into the role of CEO to help position the Stuart Weitzman brand for continued growth and development across its many channels," said Kulkin.
Stuart Weitzman also announced that as part of its continued global expansion across all channels, Roberta Lee has joined the company in the newly created role of VP of marketing, Asia Pacific. Lee will be responsible for driving the development, implementation and overall communications strategy for Stuart Weitzman in the Asia Pacific region. She will report to Susan Duffy, chief marketing officer. Lee most recently served as head of fashion marketing for Chanel Limited, with responsibility for the strategic business planning and marketing for Hong Kong and Macau.
"Roberta has an impressive understanding of the luxury market and will be a tremendous asset to the company," said Duffy. "We are implementing this strategic role as a result of our fast-paced retail expansion in the Asia Pacific region and Roberta's appointment will help support the levels of sales growth we envision over the next several years."
Stuart Weitzman expects to conduct a major store expansion throughout the next three years and foresees considerable wholesale and e-commerce growth, licensing opportunities, and brand extensions, including handbags and accessories. A dedicated creative team for handbags has been developed and new designs will be unveiled in the second half 2014.
Finding talent that fits into the hands on and entrepreneurial culture of the Stuart Weitzman brand will be essential to success in the next stage of the company's growth and to ensure that the brand culture is maintained for the next generation and beyond. First on the agenda are the addition of a global president and global retail president.
The Zaha Hadid-designed international flagship is slated to open during fashion week on the storied via Sant'Andrea in September. Other store openings planned in 2013 include the Zaha Hadid designed shops in Hong Kong, Rome and New York City. Stuart Weitzman currently has 100 freestanding stores, three e-commerce sites and 80 countries of distribution.
The company stated that one of its most important growth initiatives to date has been the September 2012 launch of a Stuart Weitzman website servicing all of Europe in four languages. The next major digital expansion will be a site servicing the entire Asia Pacific region.
Stuart Weitzman is a global leader in designer footwear which operates 46 retail stores across the United States, including New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Boston and Las Vegas. The company also has 57 international stores and is sold in more than 80 countries. It is a division of the Jones Group, a leading global designer, marketer and wholesaler of more than 35 brands with product expertise in apparel, footwear, jeans wear, jewelry and handbags.