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Gucci Nabs Prada’s Top US Lawyer as Brand Seeks Sales Rebound

Gucci has raided rival Italian fashion house Prada to hire David Warren as its top attorney in the Americas, filling a post that has been vacant for at least six months.

Gucci, owned by French luxury goods giant Kering SAhad been looking for a top US lawyer since former Americas general counsel Brooke Crescenti left last September to join apparel startup CreateMe Technologies LLC.

Warren joined Prada USA Corp. in 2018 as its top in-house lawyer for the US, Canada, Latin America, and Caribbean regions. In a statement he posted to LinkedIn in late April, Warren acknowledged his departure from his general counsel role at Prada.

He jumps to the Kering unit as the parent company last month reported first quarter sales that were below expectations for the Gucci brand. One analyst cited Gucci’s inability to create excitement around product launches and said the brand fell out of favor with key customers, Bloomberg News reported.

Kering’s first quarter result contrasted with those of rivals Hermes and LVMH, which both reported sales beats for the period, Bloomberg reported. Gucci also made headlines last year for a movie based on the troubles of its founding family.

Gucci declined to comment on Warren, saying it doesn’t discuss personnel matters. Warren and Prada didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Warren spent the first eight years of his legal career as an employment litigation associate at Jackson Lewis and Sidley Austin. In 2008, I moved to MetLife Inc., where I spent the next decade.

At MetLife, Warren held several employment and litigation legal group roles and was eleven chief of staff to the insurer’s general counsel. At Prada, he oversaw commercial, customs, data security and privacy and employment, among other areas.

Prada’s profits hit $535 million last year, a rebound to pre-coronavirus pandemic earnings for the company, Bloomberg News reported in March.

Prada announced March 23 its hire of a new group general counsel in Cristina de Dona, an Italian lawyer who most recently served as an international chief counsel for US chocolate maker the Hershey Co.

Ralph LaurenLegal

Gucci and Prada aren’t the only high-end fashion companies making changes to their legal operations.

Ralph Lauren Corp., which promoted longtime general counsel Avery Fischer last year to chief legal officer, has also recently appointed new heads of corporate and intellectual property.

Ayushi Rajpurohit, a member of Ralph Lauren’s portfolio management team, announced via LinkedIn in late February his promotion to lead corporate counsel for the fashion designer’s in-house legal team.

Ralph Lauren also hired Alice Pang, an IP associate in McCarter & English’s design, fashion, and luxury group, to be its lead IP counsel as of Jan. 31. Pang confirmed her new role to Bloomberg Law.

Both lawyers are based in Ralph Lauren’s US corporate campus in Nutley, NJ

The company—which takes its name from its billionaire founder and largest shareholder Ralph Lauren—is rebounding after years of restructuring its apparel operations, Bloomberg News reported in February.

Ralph Lauren has shed some lawyers, most recently parting ways with former senior director and IP counsel Derek Morales. In December he became an associate trademarks counsel at the Estée Lauder Cos.

T-Mobile US Inc., a telecommunications giant now under new legal leadership, recruited Ralph Lauren real estate counsel Jamile Drew in November as managing corporate counsel for legal affairs.

In October, Olaplex Holdings Inc., a hair care startup endorsed by Kim Kardashian, hired longtime Ralph Lauren lawyer Tracie Chesterman as a deputy general counsel. Olaplex raised $1.6 billion last year through an initial public offering.

Anthony Traymore, another in-house veteran at Ralph Lauren, also left the company last year to become the first-ever general counsel for Natural Fiber Welding Inc., a plant-based textile maker in which Ralph Lauren is a minority investor.

Ralph Lauren announced early March the departure of his former chief commercial officer Howard Smith, who officially resigned April 2. An internal investigation found he violated company ethics. A securities filing by Ralph Lauren said it relied on the “assistance of outside counsel” in probing Smith.

A Ralph Lauren spokeswoman declined to identify which law firm or firms advised it on the inquiry involving Smith, whose alleged wrongdoing was unrelated to financial reporting or business performance, according to the company.

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