WWD Digital Daily
Paolo Porta Named CEO Of Smythson
● Porta was formerly CEO at Hunter, and has held top management positions at fashion and luxury brands including Jimmy Choo and Burberry.
LONDON — Smythson has named longtime fashion and luxury executive Paolo Porta chief executive officer.
Porta begins his job on Monday, reporting to Stefano Giacomelli, chairman of Smythson and CEO of Tivoli Group, which owns the British luxury brand.
An announcement is expected on Monday.
Porta was most recently CEO of the British boot-maker Hunter, a job he took up in 2021 after successfully steering the company through the COVID-19 pandemic and the early stages of its repositioning strategy. He initially joined in June 2020 as interim CEO.
On Porta's watch, Hunter saw sales surge during the pandemic and afterward. He also brokered one of Hunter's top-selling collaborations, with "Killing Eve," the BBC America TV series.
"Thanks to his extensive expertise in global lifestyle companies, Paolo is ideally placed to lead such a distinctive and renowned brand as Smythson," Giacomelli said.
"Under his leadership, the brand is primed to begin a new chapter in its development through the strengthening of its traditional markets in the U.K. and Europe. In particular, [the brand] will expand its presence in new, strategic markets such as the United States and Asia," Giacomelli added.
Porta said he was "proud to be given the chance to contribute to the further growth and development of Smythson, which I have always admired. Smythson's potential is both vast and unique. I am thrilled to be working with such a talented, experienced and close-knit team to implement a new project of development and growth.”
Smythson makes stationery, a colorful array of leather accessories and notebooks with the brand's signature blue pages.
Porta told WWD there is enormous scope for expanding categories such as travel, gifting and home, with new product iterations, personalization services and a larger women's accessories offer.
He said the U.S., which represents around 10 percent of the business, offered another big opportunity, especially at high-end department stores. Until recently, Smythson had a store in New York, but it shut last year and the company has since set a new strategy for the region.
Smythson has stores on New Bond Street and Sloane Street in London, with other units on at Selfridges and Harrods.
Smythson of Bond Street was established in 1887 when Frank Smythson opened his first boutique providing stationery and "fancy articles of a highclass character."
It has long been the go-to stationer for well-heeled Brits and international clients, and has held numerous royal warrants over the past decades, including from the late Queen Elizabeth II, and the Prince of Wales, now King Charles III.
At Smythson, Porta will be united with a former colleague, Luc Goidadin, who is the brand's creative director. The two worked at Burberry many years ago.
Prior to joining Hunter, Porta served as senior vice president of merchandising and licensing at Jimmy Choo. He has worked in luxury fashion for more than two decades in roles across merchandising, retail, wholesale distribution, brand development and licensing at brands including Dior, Stella McCartney and Burberry.
Smythson is owned by Italy's Tivoli Group, which was founded in 1981 and manufactures leather goods for various international fashion and luxury brands. It has an annual production of about 700,000 units.