Category Archive: 2014

Jonathan Russell

Jonathan is co-founder of Spire Partners, an independent debt management and advisory firm focused on Western Europe.

Previously, Jonathan had a 24-year career at 3i within their private equity department where, as a proven and established industry leader, he was responsible for creating and managing the buyout division. A pan-European operation with 100 executives based across the major European economies.

In 2008, he was chairman of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (E.V.C.A.) an organization that shapes the future direction of the industry, while promoting it to stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, business owners and employee representatives. Jonathan led the private equity industry’s response to the European Union’s A.I.F.M. directive, which in its early drafts was a significant threat to the industry. But thanks to the E.V.C.A.’s efforts this threat receded.

He has a B.Sc. (Hons.) in ophthalmic optics and an M.B.A. from London Business School.

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Stefano Rosso

Stefano Rosso was born on June 1, 1979, in Marostica, in northeastern Italy. After attending high school in Bassano del Grappa, he left Italy to pursue his studies at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where he completed a B.A. in international trade and marketing. He began his work experience outside the family company, collaborating with brands like ZooYork, part of the Ecko Unlimited group.

Stefano returned to Italy in 2005 with a new challenge: he began his professional experience at Diesel, working in different areas of the company (from production to marketing), to first become Diesel’s 5 Pockets (denim) brand manager, and then strategic brand alliances director, creating and managing some of the brand’s most important global collaborations, from a limited edition sneakers series with adidas Originals, to the worldwide partnership with Ducati.

In July 2011, Stefano Rosso left Diesel for a new position: he became director of corporate development of OTB, the holding company of Diesel, Maison Martin Margiela, Marni, Viktor&Rolf, Staff International (the company manufacturing and distributing license agreements with DSquared², Just Cavalli, Vivienne Westwood Red Label and MAN, and Marc Jacobs Mens) and Brave Kid (specialized in childrenswear production and distribution for licensed brands Diesel, DSquared² and John Galliano).

In February 2013, Stefano was named C.E.O. of OTB with the specific responsibility of designing the group’s corporate governance and guiding the People & Organization function, with the goal to build the managerial team of the future. He plays a key role in the development strategy of the group, with a special focus on new acquisitions.

Stefano loves and plays soccer, and he is president of the Bassano Virtus soccer team. He practices snowboarding and motorcycling, and he is passionate about contemporary and street art, and the whole digital world.

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Uché Okonkwo-Pézard

Uché Okonkwo-Pézard is recognized worldwide as one of the pioneer business strategists and opinion leaders in the luxury industry. With insightful vision on the luxury business, a strong creative talent and a rare capacity to pull luxury brands together, she has collaborated closely with both emerging luxury brands and established luxury companies, including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Cartier, Christian Dior, Piaget, Coty Prestige, L’Oréal, Chopard, Fabergé, Burberry, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Couronne, Woo and a host of others. Her expertise in taking luxury brands to elevated growth through strategic and insightful business and creative solutions have led to the successful growth and turnaround of several brands and the launch of others. Through her guidance, Luxe Corp is currently playing a vital role in reshaping the business practices of luxury brands and the business approaches of the luxury industry.

Following the creation of Luxe Corp, she initiated the creation of Club e-Luxe out of a recognition of the important and pivotal role that digital media would play in shaping the future of luxury. Club e-Luxe remains the sole credible platform that provides luxury executives with strategic digital direction through knowledge, strategies, tools, techniques, applications and systems that luxury requires to thrive in the world of digital media, technology and innovation. Each Club e-Luxe event is curated with a unique theme identified from the current digital challenges of the luxury industry and Luxe Corp’s consolidated digital practice. Club e-Luxe has received ongoing support from such luxury companies as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Cartier and Dior; as well as technology companies including HP, Microsoft, Cisco and Parrot.

Uché is also the founding editor of the luxury business magazine, Luxe-Mag.Com, which provides insightful analysis of luxury business issues. She is the author of the best-selling book, “Luxury Fashion Branding,” which is the first book to address the business of luxury from a strategic viewpoint and has been described as an “indispensable resource for anyone involved in the luxury business.” Her second book, “Luxury Online,” is the first, and remains the only, industry reference text on the analysis of digital media, innovation and new technologies in the luxury context. It has been described by insiders as “what the luxury industry has been awaiting for over a decade.” Uché has also acted as a guest editor of the Journal of Brand Management and her publications have appeared in the Harvard Business Review and the International New York Times among others.

Uché is frequently quoted in the international press and has been featured in the Financial Times, the International New York Times, The Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Elle, Vanity Fair, Vogue among others.

A true entrepreneur, her passion for linking the worlds of business, innovation, culture and creativity is unmistakable in her presentations at key luxury industry events worldwide, including the International New York Times’s annual luxury conference where she has been invited to address luxury leaders twice. She has also given keynote presentations at the American Express Luxury Summit, Goldman Sachs Luxury Forum and the China Luxury Summit. She constantly speaks to M.B.A.s and alumni of business schools worldwide on the luxury business and has addressed audiences at Harvard Business School, ESSEC Paris, London Business School, IE Madrid and EML Geneva. A multilingual, Uché sits on the board of several entities such as the I.618 Sustainable Luxury, the London College of Fashion’s Executive M.B.A. Fashion and the influential advisory board of HP. She is also an honorary fellow of the American Luxury Marketing Council. She has an M.B.A. from Brunel Business School, London, and is committed to pursuing the advancement of luxury and culture in both business and academics. In addition to the business of luxury, Uché is passionate about the arts, design, culture and gastronomy. She is also an aviation enthusiast. Uché lives in Paris with her family.

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Alison Lazerwitz

Alison Lazerwitz is currently the executive vice president and general counsel of Daniel Swarovski Corporation AG, the global leading producer of cut crystal, genuine gemstones and created stones. Swarovski’s world headquarters are located in Männedorf, Switzerland.

Alison Lazerwitz has over 25 years of experience in international legal matters, including the development of corporate business integrity/compliance initiatives as well as cross-border acquisitions and contracts. Prior to moving to Zurich, Alison spent nine years in Paris working for Sodexo, an international leader in outsourced services. Alison was first the chief legal officer for Sodexo and then the senior vice president for international development.

In addition to living in Europe, Alison has strong ties to the U.S. She attended the University of Virginia for both her undergraduate and legal training, and practiced law in Philadelphia for the law firm Duane Morris. Alison has also been the assistant general counsel for ARAMARK, based in Philadelphia and the general counsel for the Wood Company, based in Allentown, Pa.

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Caroline Issa

Caroline Issa is the C.E.O. of the Tank Group, consisting of Tank magazine,, and Tank Form creative agency. Armed with a business degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, she started her career as a management consultant, working with brands such as Nordstrom and Dr. Pepper/7UP. She moved to London and joined Tank in its early years, developing its publishing arm by launching several titles and creative agency work. Almost 12 years later, in addition to acting as fashion director to her magazines, she can also be found working as a creative consultant for several luxury and retail fashion brands. She has been on the juries of both the Hyères and Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festivals, as well as the Swiss Textile Awards, Cartier C.S.M. M.A. jewellery prize and the B.F.C.’s Fashion Forward award panel.

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Mary Huang

Mary Huang is founder of Continuum Fashion, combining experience in 3-D design, digital fabrication and code to redefine the craft of making apparel. The New York Times called her work “perfect for the stylish futuristic denizens of the Capitol in ‘The Hunger Games’”, and she has also been featured by Mashable, Wired, Huffington Post and the Sundance channel. Her pieces for Continuum are collected and exhibited by notable design schools and museums internationally.

Continuum Fashion pioneers 3-D printing for the next generation of fashion. Based in N.Y.C., Continuum is recognized for work in wearable 3-D printed shoes and textiles as well as for their online community design site Driving innovation across materials and software design, Continuum Fashion delivers consumer products for a digitally fabricated and environmentally sustainable fashion future.

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Gian Giacomo Ferraris

Gian Giacomo Ferraris is chief executive officer of Gianni Versace S.p.A. since July 2009.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Ferraris was C.E.O. of the Jil Sander Group, taking up this position in 2004. His achievements at Jil Sander included: redefinition of the strategic brand positioning; group restructuring; taking the company from loss into profit; re-organization of product development, production and other operations, taking them in-house; management of ownership transfers — Prada Group, Change Capital Partners and Onward Group, and delisting from the German Stock Exchange.

From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Ferraris was managing director of the ready to wear division of Gucci Group with a long list of achievements across all the group’s brands: Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta.

Prior to the Gucci Group, he had his first position at Jil Sander in 1994, when he joined the group in Germany as C.O.O., launching the men’s collection in 1997.

Mr. Ferraris started his career as a high school teacher and then a process engineer at the Olivetti Group. He then joined Ermenegildo Zegna in 1987, moving to the global consulting firm, Kurt Salmon two years later.

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Nick English and Giles English

Bremont Watch Company launched its collection of highly developed aviation inspired timepieces in 2007 after five years in development. Bremont now offers a comprehensive collection of COSC certified automatic chronometers. Founded by two British brothers, Nick and Giles English, Bremont originated from the brothers’ joint lifetime love and passion for engineering and aviation.

The story of Bremont started in 1995 following a tragic plane crash that Nick had with his father, Euan English. Whilst training for an air show in the U.K., their WWII Harvard aircraft was involved in a horrendous accident. Their father Euan died and Nick broke over 30 bones. This accident was a tipping point in the brothers’ lives and provided the impetus to set up a watch atelier.

The year following the plane crash, Nick and Giles were back in the air, flying across France in a 60-year-old plane. Bad weather forced them to make an emergency landing in a pea field in the Champagne region. As fate would have it, the field was owned by an old farmer, who not only reminded the brothers of their own father, but was also a former WWII pilot and just as passionate about aircraft as Nick and Giles. His farmhouse, where the brothers stayed for a couple of nights, also housed a wonderful selection of restored wall clocks and he wore a particularly special wristwatch — the one given to him by his father. His name, Antoine Bremont, was chosen to grace this range of British watches with his passions in life mirroring closely those of the brothers and their late father.

The brothers were determined to make a watch that would last more than a lifetime. To that end, it had to be made from the best available materials using the most tried and tested techniques. Indeed, this led to the company’s maxim: all Bremont timepieces would be tested above and beyond the demands placed upon conventional wristwatches — “Tested Beyond Endurance.”

As a result, the stainless steel case of each Bremont is made to an exceptional hardness of 2000 Vickers, which is seven times that of an average stainless steel watchcase. The convex sapphire crystal is equally as hard and has nine layers of antireflective coating applied to both sides of the glass for increased legibility. During the arduous 15-day chronometer movement certification process carried out by COSC, each Bremont watch must achieve accuracy to within -4 and +6 seconds per day. Bremont now finds itself in the top 20 of the world’s chronometer manufacturers.

The high standard of finish and attention to detail seen in everything from the hand-cut and engraved winding rotor in the sapphire crystal case back to the meticulous machining of the three-part Trip-Tick® cases take considerable time and skill to apply. As a result, no more than 1,000 examples of each model are produced annually. An individual record of each watch is kept at the company headquarters for security and servicing purposes, and all Bremont watches are supplied with beautiful hand-crafted leather wallets or rolls, which have been designed with traveling and safe storage in mind.

Bremont is a British company that combines its manufacturing in Switzerland and the U.K. but contains something that no comparable timepiece can match: an air of quintessential Britishness. The brothers set out to create a classic English-styled watch that could be worn in the boardroom but had the strength to be used in the harshest of environments. Each and every Bremont model is not only designed to exacting specifications but is also sufficiently accurate and durable enough to be used for activities ranging from flying to polar and deep-sea exploration. In addition to lab testing, each model has been tried and quantified “in the field” by professional adventurers and explorers and is also the watch of choice for multiple military air squadrons around the world. In 2010, Bremont produced the B-1 Marine Clock, which, along with its in-house movement, became the first Bremont timepiece to be made entirely in England.

In January 2013, Bremont opened their new watch-making facility in the Oxfordshire town of Henley-on-Thames. The beautiful oak framed building in the heart of the Chiltern Valley has been custom built to provide an ideal facility for the manufacture of their high-end mechanical watches. Bremont is on a long-term staged investment program to develop mechanical watch manufacturing expertise in the U.K. and will be assembling and finishing off key movement and case components in Henley. Bringing the shipping and quality control under one roof will allow the client services to grow and even offers customers the chance to come and see their watches being assembled for themselves.

In July 2012, Bremont opened their flagship boutique in London’s Mayfair joining a host of high-end brands such as Marc Jacobs and Purdey on the prestigious South Audley Street. The store spans two floors and boasts a library equipped with leather armchairs and sofa, a meeting room as well as its very own bar for customers and visitors alike. It provides the perfect showcase for the Bremont collections as well as encompassing the heritage of the brand. The boutique is more than a traditional watch store, with an exclusive monthly explorers club, a considerable watch library and unique pieces on display such as the Ronnie Wood limited edition B-1 Marine clock.

Historically, Britain has had a considerable impact on watchmaking and was the pioneer of technical development throughout the last century. Bremont is proud to be at the forefront of the revival of British watchmaking. The appeal for the brand’s high quality and limited production timepieces is making Bremont a real force in the high-end luxury watch market. Limited numbers are manufactured each year and all Bremont watches adhere to the core values of precision, durability and individuality.

Bremont Partnerships and Collaborations

The Bremont watch family comprises a range of chronometer-tested chronograph and nonchronograph watches including a number of special limited edition models. All watches are water resistant to a depth of 100m with the exception of the diving watches, which have been tested to 1500m. 
Bremont has made some iconic limited edition watches including the EP120, named after and containing parts of the famous 1942 Spitfire Mk. V aircraft which is one of the most credited WWII fighters in existence, currently based in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. Also the P-51, which is a chronograph chronometer built with original parts from the famous 1944 Mustang WWII P-51K-10, a Pacific War veteran also known as “Fragile but Agile.”

Two thousand and ten saw Bremont collaborate with luxury motorcar company Jaguar to create clocks for the XJ75 75th Anniversary Supercar and the CX75 Concept Car.

Following on from the extreme testing Bremont carried out with British Aviation Company, Martin-Baker (who make 70 percent of the world’s air force fighter ejection seats), the company continues to work very closely with multiple military squadrons both in the U.K. and the U.S.A. who are seeking an understated, exclusive and refined timepiece.

Two thousand and twelve saw their most exciting collaboration to date with the launch of the Bremont Victory watch. The brand worked closely with The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, to create a limited edition watch where each mechanical retrograde watch has been made with original parts of oak timber and copper from the H.M.S. Victory ship, most famous as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Bremont Awards

Luxury Watch of the Year at the 2012 WatchPro Awards
People’s Choice Award (Watch Category) at the 2012 Couture Watch & Jewellery Show, Las Vegas
Breakthrough Brand of the Year at the 2012 Luxury Briefing Awards
Watch Brand of the Year at the 2011 UK Jewellery Awards
Bremont Watch Company was awarded The Best Emerging Luxury Brand at Walpole Awards 2008
Bremont Watch Company awarded and recognized as Brand of Tomorrow at the Walpole Awards 

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Steven Donald

With wide-ranging international business experience over the past 25 years, Steve has lived globally in Austria, Canada, Germany, Finland and Thailand, and has conducted business extensively throughout Europe, North America and the Middle East.

He is a proven change agent with expertise in introducing innovation, building brand equity, and affecting positive growth within the ICT/telecommunications industry. As a highly respected leader with a clear, focused direction, he has seen notable results throughout his career. Most recently, at Deutsche Telekom he has been instrumental in bringing innovative solutions, such as unified communication for closed communities and secure content delivery networks, to the global market. Born in the U.K., Steve grew up in Canada and holds dual British/Canadian citizenship.

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Alessandro Curotti

Alessandro Curotti joined Salvatore Ferragamo in 2011 as head of legal and corporate affairs. Prior to joining Salvatore Ferragamo he served as general counsel at Luxottica and as head of legal affairs for companies including Telecom Italia Group and Montedison.

He received his law degree from the University of Siena and was admitted to the Milan Bar in 1993.

He speaks fluent English, French and Spanish.

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