WWD Digital Daily
Charlotte Blechman to Leave Role as Chief Marketing Officer at Tom Ford
● She has worked with the designer for 17 years at Gucci, YSL and his namesake brand.
With the acquisition
of Tom Ford's company by The Estée Lauder Cos., changes are afoot.
Charlotte Blechman, chief marketing officer of Tom Ford International, who has worked closely with the designer since 1995 when he was at Gucci, is leaving Ford's namesake company, effective May 31.
She had been at Tom Ford since 2017, overseeing various departments from marketing to brand image and digital and was responsible for all global advertising, visual display, customer relationship management, events, marketing, communications and marketing initiatives for the entire Tom Ford brand, including all licensed products such as beauty, eyewear and timepieces.
Blechman also took on all philanthropic efforts, including the creation of the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, brand partnerships and working closely with the Council of Fashion Designers of America when Ford took over as chairman from Jan. 1, 2020, until May 31, 2022.
"After 17 years of working closely with Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole — first at Gucci, then YSL, and most recently at the Tom Ford brand, I have made the decision to embark on a new professional chapter," said Blechman Wednesday. "The Tom Ford brand is entering an exciting new phase and is in great hands with an extremely talented team in place, and I look forward to watching the further evolution of the Tom Ford brand as one of the preeminent global luxury brands of the 21st century," she said.
Ford and De Sole, chairman of Tom Ford International, were unreachable for comment.
As for her plans, Blechman said, "In the near term, I plan to take the summer off and spend time with my family; in the longer term, I am open to possibilities for what the future may hold and I am looking forward to what's ahead."
Blechman first joined Gucci in 1995 and was promoted to director of worldwide celebrity relations in 1998. In 2001, she transitioned to Gucci Group's Yves Saint Laurent division as vice president of public relations under Ford, eventually rejoining Gucci from 2004 to 2010. From there, she went to Barneys New York when Mark
Lee, Gucci's former president and chief executive, joined the retailer as its CEO. She stayed at Barneys from December 2011 to January 2017.
Reached for comment, Lee said Wednesday, "Charlotte is the best. We actually worked together in three different companies: YSL, Gucci and Barneys New York. She is legendary and responsible for a huge part of all the communication and magic that we created in those various incarnations."
Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA, said, "When Tom took over the CFDA, there wasn't a decision we made at the CFDA that Charlotte wasn't involved in. She was really engaged, strategic, thoughtful and questioning. She really helped us with messaging, which is her expertise of course, and the business and programming development."
Last November, Estée Lauder acquired Tom Ford's company in a deal valued at $2.8 billion. Lauder previously owned Tom Ford Beauty and Tom Ford Parfums since 2006. Under Lauder, Ford's men's and women's ready-to-wear is licensed to Ermenegildo Zegna Group, which previously held the license for menswear. Zegna also owns Thom Browne.
As reported, Guillaume Jesel has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Tom Ford, while Peter Hawkings has been tapped as creative director. Zegna has appointed a CEO of Tom Ford Fashion, who is expected to be revealed in July and will be responsible for the collections, merchandising and production, as well as retail and wholesale distribution. That executive will assume the role in the third quarter of calendar 2023.
Blechman's successor will be named at a later date. In the interim, Tomaso Galli will provide strategic guidance and support, according to an Estée Lauder spokesperson.