The family that owns Manas has appointed an outsider, Luciano Bagnobianchi, as its new chief executive, taking the place of Cleto Sagripanti who is focusing now on other products. Besides having a second two-year mandate as president of the Italian shoe industry federation,

Sagripanti is now running Fiamp, the umbrella organization of Italian producers of fashion accessories, and is starting a new project intended to internationalize some other Italian brands of shoes and leathergoods (see other articles about this in the News Briefs in this issue).

Bagnobianchi, 58, has spent 35 years in the shoe business. He worked at Primigi between 1980 and 1989 and ran it as chief executive between 1992 and 2009, helping to push its annual revenues from around €20 million to €100 million. He helped to organize a management buyout of IGI, Primigi's parent company, in 1995 and then its sale to Imac in 2001.

He left in 2009 to join Bata as chief executive of its Malaysian subsidiary. Three years later he became vice president of Bata Industrials, based in the Netherlands. In this capacity he created a sourcing center for Bata Industrials in China and helped to launch its new international website.

Stressing that there are no plans at the moment to change Manas' ownership, company officials said it was too early to comment on future strategies and measures. In general, the Sagripanti family wants to redefine the position of Manas and its higher-end brand, Lea Foscati, to boost sales.

There is a desire to emphasize Manas' spirit of craftsmanship, to expand its international presence further and to develop new synergies with Alfiere, which is still run by Claudio Sagripanti.

Both Manas and Alfiere belong to a family-owned company, Manas SpA, which is named after the three Sagripanti brothers who founded the group in 1980. One of them, Angelo, is still president of the holding company at the age of 67. Together, the two companies have an annual turnover of around €60 million, and more than half of it is generated by Manas. In contrast with Alfiere, which is best known for its Khrio brand, most of Manas' production is made in Italy, although some shoes and components come from Romania and India.

Manas' sales in Italy have been declining lately because of the economic crisis and a decision to cut off retailers who were not paying their bills. It is now working with only about 350 accounts in Italy. The company's only single-brand store in the country was closed down last year because of its owner's departure.

Sales in other countries, which represent more than 70 percent of Manas' total turnover, have been better, except in the Netherlands. Besides South Korea, where several Manas stores are in operation, the brand has been performing best in France, where it is sold by about 200 clients, following a trading-up policy.

Cleto Sagripanti, who is now 42 years old, said that he had resigned because of conflicts of views with other members of his family, who have equal shares in the group. He has been acting as Manas' chief executive since 2002. Cleto and Claudio Sagripanti are cousins. A 45-year-old sister of Cleto, Lara Sagripanti, is still involved in Manas as communications director.