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Fendi CEO Burke eyes India for high-end luxury market

06
Dec '05
Italian brand Fendi's CEO Michael Burke just celebrated his brand's 80th anniversary in style with a new flagship store three blocks south of the original Fifth Avenue perch in New York, with a new collection of its 'B' bags.

Burke stated that he's happy that he has managed to hold back creative director Karl Lagerfeld, the man behind one of the world's most coveted logos — the mirrored double F — and whose contract was about to end. For how long? For as long as he wants to stay.

All this in spite of LVMH's leather and fashion brands' reported losses of $31.6m on sales of $316m last year. Burke has decided to fight back, and is sure he will “break even before '07'. He's aiming at sales of 600m by the end of '07.

If Burke, named Fendi CEO in '03, does what he has set out to do, this will be the second company that he will turn around for LVMH boss Bernard Arnault. Burke joined LVMH in 1986 charged with rescuing Christian Dior Couture USA, in NY, and did precisely that in his 7-year stint at the helm, before spending four years heading Louis Vuitton's US operations.

At Fendi, Bruke had his work cut out for him. Besides adverse market conditions, when Arnault bought out Prada's stock in the company (LVMH has 84% stake in Fendi, the rest is held by Carla Fendi), the total cost of acquiring the Italian brand stood at $1.1bn. But seeing the crowds at the new NY store and the growing sales across Asia and the Middle East, Burke is confident he'son course.


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