Benetton appoints new chief executive

Italian fashion group Benetton has chosen Warner Music executive Gerolamo Caccia Dominioni as the company’s new chief executive. The clothing company, as famous for it’s logo’d knitwear as its provocative advertising imagery, reported a 12-percent increase in earnings in 2006, citing growth in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe as well as China and India and a tight hold on operating costs, according to the Associated Press.

Net profit for 2006 was 125 million euros ($165 million), up from 112 million euros, the company said in a statement, while revenues rose 8 percent to 1.9 billion euros ($2.5 billion) from 1.76 billion euros a year earlier. The apparel business has lagged behind faster-growing rivals like H&M, Zara and Britain’s TopShop and River Island. Some industry insiders have suggested the Italian company may have lost its competitive edge as the Benetton family expands into other businesses.

Management of the clothing retailer had been a question since former CEO Silvan Cassano quit over differences in the company’s direction four months ago. Chief Financial Officer Pier Francesco Facchini resigned at the same time, citing personal reasons. Benetton projects revenue growth of 6 percent to 8 percent in 2007. Dominioni, 52, takes up his new post June 1. He has been at Warner Music for the last 10 years and is vice chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Music International.