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Jeffry M. Aronsson, a former corporate attorney who led a turnaround of de la Renta’s business affairs during the past decade, announced his resignation on Monday, saying he had been recruited by LVMH. Although he would not comment on his specific plans, several sources said Aronsson would join Marc Jacobs, possibly replacing Scott Bowman, who joined the company as ceo almost a year ago.
Robert Duffy, the longtime president of Marc Jacobs who helped found the company, declined to comment on Monday, while Bowman, who had extensive retail experience before joining the firm, said he wasn’t aware of any changes in order. "I’m not looking to leave, but at this point, I cannot say anything," Bowman said.
In announcing his resignation from Oscar de la Renta, Aronsson described the decision to leave as a melancholy one, made more difficult by the bonds he developed with the designer since de la Renta persuaded him to give up a career in corporate law to become his president and ceo in 1994.
While affable and consistently enthusiastic about the garment business, the 49-year-old Aronsson has also maintained the careful and measured approach of a lawyer during his tenure at the designer company, building a reputation in the industry for improving the image of its product through disciplined licensing, without damaging the brand. Speaking to that point, de la Renta has half as many licenses as when Aronsson joined the company, but triple the sales.
"This has been an incredible experience for me," Aronsson said in a telephone interview Monday. "The mission I set out to accomplish has been achieved, and now I am going to undertake a brand new challenge on an expanded playing field."
If Aronsson is headed to Marc Jacobs, it would mark the third top-level executive reorganization at an LVMH brand in recent months. In September, Fred Wilson, a close friend of Aronsson’s, moved from his role as ceo of LVMH Fashion Group, Americas, to become ceo of Donna Karan International, and, in December, Yves Carcelle, the head of LVMH’s fashion and leather goods division, took over the ceo reins from Marcello Bottoli at Louis Vuitton, where Jacobs is also the designer. Jacobs and Duffy remain partial owners in the Marc Jacobs business.