Cavalli's creative director Paul Surridge quits

FILE PHOTO: British creative director Paul Surridge acknowledges the applause at the end of Roberto Cavalli Spring/Summer 2018 show at the Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Paul Surridge said on Monday he would resign from his position as creative director of Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli, confirming press rumors about his imminent exit.

The designer, who joined the Florentine label in 2017, said in an Instagram post he wished to “focus on other projects that I put aside in order to achieve our common goals with Roberto Cavalli Group”.

The company, founded by Roberto Cavalli in the early 1970s and famous for its animal prints, was taken over by Italian private equity firm Clessidra in 2015 in a bid to turn it around.

Clessidra in October hired Rothschild to find a minority partner for the fashion group, sources have said.

Since then the private equity group, which owns 90 percent of Cavalli, has also decided to consider offers for a majority stake in the fashion label, other sources have said, as the sale process has proven more difficult than previously envisaged.

Under new Chief Executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris, hired in 2016 to help boost the label, the company has been working to expand into lifestyle categories to find new sources of revenue.

Ferraris said in October Cavalli was on track to return to a net profit in 2019.

Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri; Editing by Edmund Blair