Crate & Barrel, Benetton CEOs Call It Quits

Crate & Barrel, Benetton CEOs Call It Quits

0adiemozThe CEOs at Crate & Barrel and Benetton Group have decided to step down from their positions. The situations at each company are different, although both announcements come as something of a surprise. In the case of Crate & Barrel, chief exec Doug Diemoz resigned on April 14 in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit from competitor Restoration Hardware.

Diemoz came to Crate & Barrel from Restoration Hardware in July 2015, and later brought on former RH colleague Kimberly Ahlheim to serve as its VP of Hospitality in May 2016. But Restoration Hardware has accused Crate & Barrel and the two execs of stealing trade secrets and violating confidentiality agreements.

“On information and belief, Crate began targeting RH personnel and RH strategies as part of a strategy to turn around Crate’s inferior performance and growth,” the suit alleged.

Under Ahlheim, Restoration Hardware launched its first food and beverage service at an RH gallery in Chicago in October 2015. But the retailer alleges that within a few weeks of jumping ship to Crate & Barrel, Ahlheim “was already implementing a food and beverage business plan for Crate that leveraged her knowledge of proprietary RH information and utilized business leads developed during her time at RH that Crate would instead exploit.”

Although Crate & Barrel confirmed Diemoz’s departure, the retailer has not commented on the reasoning behind it.

Neela Montgomery, an executive board member at Crate & Barrel's parent company the Otto Group, said that she would assume most of Diemoz’s current responsibilities. In the role, Montgomery would work closely with Steve 'Woody' Woodward, President and Chief Merchant, and Mike Relich, Chief Operating Officer, and the rest of the executive leadership team.

Benetton Yet To Name Replacement

Benetton Group CEO Marco Airoldi will officially resign as of May 16, following the Italian retailer’s Board of Directors acceptance of his resignation on April 4.

The Board has not named Airoldi’s replacement, but appointed Tommaso Brusò as COO to take on many of his responsibilities. Brusò is currently CEO of North America at Diesel,but previously worked at Benetton in Italy, then in the U.S. as a retail operations manager from 1999 to 2002. Chairman Francesco Gori will preside over core staff matters, according to a statement.

Airoldi focused on restructuring the company since taking on the CEO role in 2014, separating the real estate business from the core activities of the group. But the brand has still struggled to see sales growth despite the restructuring initiative.

Benetton, fully owned by the namesake family that founded the company, has had more than half a dozen chief executives in the past 15 years.

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