Tamara Mellon, who co-founded Jimmy Choo together with the Malaysian cobbler by the same name in 1996, has decided to leave the company at the end of this month or the end of this year. The wealthy 44-year-old former fashion model and accessories editor of the British edition of Vogue is said to be gearing up to launch her own fashion brand, as Tom Ford and others have done after leaving the fashion houses that they worked for. Because of her contract, she is apparently unable to talk about these plans before next year.
While Jimmy Choo is based in London, Mellon has been working out of New York, where she moved from London in 2009. While she has been working mainly as a brand-builder, acting as a sort of ambassador for the brand at numerous events, she was appointed “chief creative officer” in the spring of 2010. Labelux, which acquired Jimmy Choo last May, said that there are no plans to replace Mellon in her current position. Sandra Choi and Simon Holloway will continue as creative directors of the company.
At the same time, Labelux announced the departure of Joshua Schulman, chief executive of Jimmy Choo, in the course of 2012. Schulman, a former CEO of Kenneth Cole New York who replaced Robert Bensoussan at the head of the company in 2007, has agreed to stay on until the nomination of his successor. The reasons for his departure could not be determined, but they are said to be different from those of Mellon.
Last year, Schulman was rumored to be considering a management buyout of Jimmy Choo together with Mellon, who still held 15 percent of the company's shares at the time. It was subsequently reported that Mellon and Schulman would become shareholders in a subsidiary of Labelux that would control Jimmy Choo, and that they would help Labelux acquire other fashion firms. In the last few years, the Austrian-based investment company has also acquired Bally, Derek Lam, Zagliani and, most recently, Belstaff.
According to various reports, Labelux paid between £500 million (€580.1m-$779.1m) and £549 million (€637.0m-$855.5m) for Jimmy Choo. Mellon played a key role in the deal. Two other funds, Lion Capital and Towerbrook, had previously controlled the company, whose sales have been booming, at least until recently. The reached £150 million in 2010.