New CEO Nikolas Talonpoika Takes the Reins at Christopher Kane

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Nikolas Talonpoika will commence his new role as chief executive officer of the Kering-owned Christopher Kane, effective today. He succeeds Sarah Crook, who will leave the label after two years.

Talonpoika was previously Kering’s strategic marketing and media director, and now reports to Kering’s group managing director, Jean-François Palus. The new CEO’s role includes driving Christopher Kane’s international expansion and working with the label’s founders Christopher and Tammy Kane to strengthen its identity, said Kering in a statement.

Talonpoika will be the label’s third chief executive officer in two short years.

According to Exane BNP Paribas head of luxury goods Luca Solca, the high turnover indicates a sort of difficulty in growing a ‘smaller fashion brand’.

“I think Christopher Kane is potentially promising but realizing that potential is very difficult indeed,” said Solca.

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This could be even more so, with a rather challenging current climate. According to a report by Bain & Company, the global market for personal luxury goods grew only one percent to approximately $280 billion, from the previous year based on real growth terms.

Before the Kering group, which Talonpoika has been with for about eight years, the 44-year-old held various positions at WPP and Publicis, working with Richemont, L’Oréal and Nespresso, to name a few.

“I'm sure that [Talonpoika] is a very capable executive and I'm sure that he is going to be successful, it's just the reality is the luxury market at the moment is one of slower growth than we have been accustomed to over the past five to 10 years, so it is quite difficult,” Nick Pope, fashion and luxury lead for Deloitte in the UK tells BoF.

“With smaller ‘growth brands’ it's a real challenge to try and execute some of the international aspirations in a market that is depressed like this.”

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