DKNY Confirms Exit of CEO and Creative Directors

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DKNY has confirmed that chief executive Caroline Brown and creative directors Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow will be leaving the company before the year’s end. The imminent exits were confirmed at the point of DKNY’s closing sale to G-III Apparel Group on Thursday. Likewise, LVMH made a surprise sale of Donna Karan International to G-III Apparel Group for US$650 million in July, despite rarely ever selling its brands.

Brown, who joined Donna Karan International from Carolina Herrera last January, remains one of the key players in the fashion industry. Her appointment at Donna Karan saw the transitioning of the brand, especially after the departure of its eponymous creator, and the eventual bringing in of Chow and Osborne.

"As Donna Karan International transitions to new ownership and therefore new directions, I have decided it is the right time to step down and explore new possibilities," Brown said. “I know the company rests in good hands under the new leadership of GIII for the next stage of its development."

While Brown’s next venture remains relatively unconfirmed, the general consensus is that she will not be moving on to another position within the luxury French conglomerate just yet.

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“Caroline’s leadership was instrumental in respositioning the brand for the future. She streamlined the breadth of activities, refocusing the organization on quality and on the core values of the DKNY brand,” Antoni Belloni, LVMH group managing director, wrote in a letter to DKNY employees.

Though industry whispers initially suggested that the sale was a result of the brand’s inability to reboot itself successfully, Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and chief executive of LVMH’s fashion group says that LVMH’s decision to sell the brand was due to G-III’s high offer.

Though G-III did not offer any insight on whether a new creative director would be appointed to oversee Donna Karan brands, the company’s current business structure implies that it would be highly unlikely, since it covers the manufacturing and distribution across a range of brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Karl Lagerfeld.

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