Paul Janssen has decided to step down as general manager of Hugo Boss’ shoe division and as president of its Italian shoe production subsidiary at Morrovalle. He plans to leave the company next April, but has agreed to remain at its disposal to help develop its Spring/Summer 2010 collection, pending the appointment of a successor. He is currently examining various options for his future career.

Janssen, who is now 44 years old, has been instrumental in developing Hugo Boss’ shoe division, which is said to be generating a still growing annual turnover of about €130 million. It employs a total of 470 people at its main office in Switzerland, at the Morrovalle plant and at an upper manufacturing facility in Poland.

The Dutch executive began to work in 1989 as product manager for Wilhelm Möhlmann, who got the license for Hugo Boss men’s shoes in 1996, subsequently extended to women’s footwear in 2000. Janssen moved to Boss in 2004 after the company took over the operation including the Morrovalle factory, which Janssen first set up in 1992 for Möhlmann’s company, MSC Shoe.

MSC had only the Marc brand of shoes when Janssen joined the company, and it still owns it. It had just acquired a Dutch operation, Opanka.

Janssen attributes his departure from Boss to differences of views on future strategies with the new management of Hugo Boss, following the company’s acquisition by the Permira investment fund last year. Many other top managers have come and gone since then at Hugo Boss.

Among other recent management changes, Anton Magnani, manager of operations for shoes and leather accessories, has been promoted as senior vice president of the group. Three other new senior vice presidents are Evan Allen, creative director of the Hugo collection; Jan Loewen, brand director of Hugo; and Ingo Wilts, who has been in charge of Boss Black and Boss Selection. They are all seeing their responsibilities extended.

Allen will also take care of the Boss Orange collection, following the resignation of Ilka Bennezwitz, its brand manager, and of Evo Cannelloni, who has been responsible for its design. Loewen will similarly handle brand management and creative management. Wilts will also be in charge of Boss Green, supervising the creative director of the line, José Janga. Furthermore, Norbert Unterharnscheidt, formerly with Paul Hartman, has been appointed as the new chief financial officer of Hugo Boss.

Last month, Hugo Boss reported a 17 percent drop in net profit to €127.6 million for the first nine months of this year on a sales increase of 3 percent to €1.36 billion. Operating earnings (EBIT) went down by 8 percent to €199 million. Sales grew by 6 percent on a currency-neutral basis. Sales dropped by 3 percent in Germany, with an even steeper fall of 5 percent in the third quarter, but they increased by 5 percent in the rest of Europe and by 22 percent in Asia.

The company said that the growth in its sales for the full year should be at the lower end of a previously forecast range of between 6 and 8 percent. Operating income should decline slightly for the year to between €210 and €220 million before extraordinary items.