MILAN - Telegraphing the importance of the Jil Sander brand for OTB, Renzo Rosso has appointed one of his longtime and highly trusted executives to lead the brand after the acquisition in March. Ubaldo Minelli has taken on the role of chief executive officer of Jil Sander, while maintaining his position as CEO of OTB.
Minelli succeeds Axel Keller, who was promoted to CEO from the role of commercial director in October 2018 under the previous owner, Japanese multibrand fashion conglomerate Onward Holdings Co. Ltd.
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Keller joined Jil Sander in February of that year from Balenciaga, where he was commercial director for 15 years.
In addition to Jil Sander, OTB, founded by Rosso, comprises Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf and a stake in Amiri, as well as production arms Staff International and Brave Kid.
In July, Rosso told WWD he was planning to further develop Jil Sander's management structure, and that he was eyeing an increased focus on merchandising and on technology. In particular, the goal is to digitize the company.
On that occasion, Rosso, one of the few Italian entrepreneurs who has openly spoken of building a fashion conglomerate, enthused about Jil Sander. "Day after day, I marvel at how beautiful, clean and sophisticated is this product, and I have a beautiful rapport with [creative directors] Luke and Lucie [Meier]," said Rosso, who from early on has underscored that he does not want to change the creative direction of the brand. "I am involving them more and more actively in the company, and beyond the creativity, I want their opinion."
As per the most recent results available, in the financial year ended Feb. 28, 2019, Jil Sander's revenues totaled 11.3 billion yen, or $104 million.
Rosso is hoping to open a temporary Jil Sander store in New York's SoHo with a new concept conceived a year and a half ago. By the end of the year, he is set on opening Jil Sander stores in New York, responding to a strong online demand for the brand from the U.S., and Shanghai.