February 16, 2017 / 2:49 PM / 3 years ago

Ralph Lauren hires Vice Media exec to head new marketing role

(Reuters) - Ralph Lauren Corp named a Vice Media executive to the newly created role of chief marketing officer and hired Tom Ford International’s chief operating officer as a brand president, weeks after the surprise resignation of CEO Stefan Larsson.

Jonathan Bottomley, most recently the chief strategy officer at Vice Media’s in-house advertising agency, Virtue Worldwide, will take charge effective April 3.

Vice Media, a Canadian-American digital media and broadcasting company, is a youth-focused digital media company known for its “immersive journalism”.

Tom Mendenhall will assume the role of brand president for Men’s Polo, Purple Label and Double RL from March 29, the company said on Thursday.

The appointments are part of the “Way Forward” plan, which was introduced by Larsson in June last year to strengthen the leadership team and refocus on the company’s core brands.

Larsson stepped down on Feb.2, following differences with founder Ralph Lauren over the direction of the luxury brand.

Ralph Lauren, like some other luxury brands, has been struggling with sluggish spending on luxury apparel and accessories over the past few quarters.

The company’s margins have also taken a knock as department stores discount heavily to get rid of excess inventory.

Also, Ralph Lauren’s lower-end Polo and Lauren brands are facing competition from fast-fashion retailers such as H&M and Inditex’s Zara.

Under the “Way Forward” plan, the company has said it would cut about 1,000 jobs and close 50 stores to keep a lid on costs.

Mendenhall has also held senior roles in companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch Co and Gucci, owned by France-based Kering SA.

(This version of the story corrects Bottomley’s designation in paragraph 2 after a Vice Media spokesman clarifies his role at Vice)

Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila

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