Robert Polet, the man at the helm of GUCCI GROUP

Robert Polet

In a recent interview to the FINANCIAL TIMES, Robert Polet, CEO of GUCCI GROUP speaks about his experience at the third largest luxury group in the world and his passion for technology. Formerlly the head of the Unilever icea cream division, Mr Polet took over from power duo Domenico de Sole and Tom Ford with a clear mandate from owner Francois Pinault to rationalize the entire Gucci Group. Without any previous experience in luxury, few gave Mr Polet a chance, yet he seems to have found his own recipe for the success of GUCCI Group.

He says the key to the current stability of the group lies in delegating to his brand managers and allowing each group brand to follow its own strategy and identity. Mr Polet also talks about how internet is becoming the most important communications tool for all the brands of the group, be it in the form of an IPOD application like in the case of Gucci or an online store where clients can create their jewelry in the case of Boucheron.

However, one could not overlook the ironic tone of the article, especially when Polet is speaking about his obsession for technology. One statement seems rather arrogant and odd for a CEO of his caliber and that he ordered his IT department not to allow any of its managers to buy a mobile phone or gadget before he actually owns that particular gadget. The interviewer also insists on the latest technology installed in Mr Polet’s office as well as his wardrobe which has changed since his days at Unilver.

There is no mention about the departure of Gucci’s former CEO Mark Lee at the beginning of last year and about the fact that Tom Ford is actually launching is own womens line this year, many pointing at the Gucci Group as the cause of the delay behind this launch. Also, there is no mention about the Gucci bag launched by the heirs of the Gucci family and the opening of the Elisabetta Gucci hotel in Dubai, herself also an heir of the Gucci family.

It remains to be seen how the GUCCI Group will weather the current crisis and how each of the individual brands will find the most appropriate business strategy to further develop.