Benetton Group names BCG partner as CEO ahead of spin-off

MILAN, April 18 Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:18am EDT

MILAN, April 18 (Reuters) - Italy's Benetton Group will appoint a new chief executive next month for its main clothing business as it prepares to split into three units, its sole shareholder said on Friday.

The group is separating its clothing, manufacturing and retail businesses into three divisions. The new structure is due to be in place by the beginning of 2015.

Edizione, the holding company of Italy's Benetton family which controls the entire group, said it would appoint Marco Airoldi, senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group, as chief executive of the fashion business, including the Benetton brand known for its psychedelic sweaters and provocative advertising campaigns.

Airoldi, who previously worked for roadside restaurant operator Autogrill, also owned by Edizione, will take over from Biagio Chiarolanza.

Chiarolanza will leave the company, a person familiar with the matter said. Benetton declined to comment on Chiarolanza's future.

Benetton's sales suffered during a continent-wide recession in Europe, where it makes most of its revenue, while competition intensified from rivals such as Swedish retailer H&M and Inditex's Zara.

Revenue dropped 1 percent in 2011, the year before it was taken private.

The company also was caught up in a controversy surrounding the deadly collapse of Bangladeshi factory Rana Plaza last year, after it emerged that one of its former suppliers occasionally sub-contracted work there. Benetton says it is working with a local non-governmental organisation to help survivors and their families. (Reporting by Isla Binnie; editing by Jane Baird)