PARIS, July 18 French luxury group LVMH has named Sebastian Suhl, currently head of its Givenchy fashion brand, as the new chief executive of Marc Jacobs to prepare the U.S. fashion business ahead of a possible flotation, sources close to LVMH said.
They said LVMH head Bernard Arnault is keen to tap Suhl's experience since he successfully floated rival Prada in 2011 when he was chief operating officer of the Italian fashion group.
LVMH, the group behind more than 60 brands including Christian Dior, Celine, Tag Heuer watches and Fred jewellery, declined to comment.
Last year, Marc Jacobs left the creative helm of Louis Vuitton, LVMH's biggest brand and profit contributor, to focus on his own eponymous brand and float the business in New York within a few years.
Today, Marc Jacobs International, the umbrella company for the brand which recently launched a colour cosmetics line, is estimated to make just under $1 billion in global sales, including revenue from licences such as eyewear and perfume.
"Also, they wanted an American, somebody based in New York," one of the sources said, adding that current Marc Jacobs Chief Executive Bertrand Stalla-Bourdillon did not wish to move there and that the management reshuffle had been in preparation for more than 10 months already.
When Suhl begins at Marc Jacobs in September, Stalla-Bourdillon will start a new job within the LVMH group which he has already agreed to take but which has not yet been made public.
Stalla-Bourdillon, 57, is one of LVMH's top veterans, having been involved with the group since 1986, and is credited with having multiplied Marc Jacobs' revenue tenfold since he took on its management in 2004.
Another source confirmed Suhl's appointment at Marc Jacobs, coming after only two years at Givenchy, where sales are now estimated to have reached some 200 million euros ($270 million).
The second source also confirmed Suhl would be replaced at Givenchy by Philippe Fortunato, Louis Vuitton's former North Asia head. ($1 = 0.7395 Euros) (Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Mark Heinrich)