- Luxury conglomerate Tapestry announced on Thursday the departure of its Kate Spade CEO and Brand President Anna Bakst, according to a company press release.
- Bakst will be leaving the brand by the end of 2019. Tapestry's Chief Financial Officer Joanne Crevoiserat, will assume leadership in the interim while the company searches for Bakst's successor.
- Crevoiserat will have direct oversight of Kate Spade strategy and will work with the brand's senior leadership team, per the announcement.
This is not the only big leadership shift within Tapestry this year. The first came in September, when CEO Victor Luis left the company and board following a tough fourth quarter.
That earnings period, which ended June 29, saw Kate Spade's global comps fall 6%. The following quarter was no better. Kate Spade net sales fell 6% while comparable sales dropped 16%.
Kate Spade was purchased by Coach Inc. in 2017 for $2.4 billion. Coach Inc. rebranded itself as Tapestry, Inc. that same year, with Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, and Coach as brands acting under the larger conglomerate. At the time of the acquisition, then-Coach CEO Victor Luis said in a statement that "Kate Spade has a truly unique and differentiated brand positioning with a broad lifestyle assortment and strong awareness among consumers, especially millennials."
Yet, Kate Spade has struggled to find its footing, perhaps in part due to a fundamental shift in consumers' attitudes toward handbags — the item that once was the foundation of the brand. Recent research from The NPD Group revealed that sales of handbags fell 20% in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same time period in 2016. "This is clearly not a blip — it's a major shift, and it is time for us to dig deeper to understand what's driving it, and to really think about the future of the market," Beth Goldstein, NPD executive director and industry analyst of accessories and footwear, wrote in the report.
Tapestry's outlook for the brand, though, is optimistic. "Kate Spade's performance is on track and we are confident in our ability to meet our holiday season goals," Jide Zeitlin, CEO of Tapestry, said in a statement.
Anna Bakst was named CEO of Kate Spade in March 2018. She previously worked at Michael Kors and in different roles at Donna Karan, including leading its shoe and accessory division.