Tapestry appoints former Michael Kors executive as CEO of Kate Spade

Anna Bakst Kate Spade
Anna Bakst

US luxury group Tapestry has appointed Anna Bakst as CEO and brand president of Kate Spade replacing Craig Leavitt who made the decision to exit the brand following its acquisition by Tapestry (then Coach group) in 2017.

Bakst had, until January 2017, been group president of accessories and footwear at Michael Kors and her new role will reunite her with Nicola Glass who was appointed creative director of Kate Spade at the end of last year, replacing British designer and executive Deborah Lloyd. Glass had previously been senior vice president of accessories design at Michael Kors.

Bakst will be responsible for all aspects of Kate Spade globally and will report to Victor Luis, Tapestry, Inc.’s CEO who has been leading the brand in an interim capacity since Leavitt’s departure. He said Bakst’s appointment marked “another key step in the evolution of the Kate Spade brand”.

“She brings a rare combination of business acumen, directly related fashion experience and strong leadership skills to the company. Together with recently appointed Creative Director Nicola Glass, we now have the right senior management in place to lead the talented Kate Spade brand team and drive the business globally,” Luis said.

Kate Spade Coach
Kate Spade Regent Street

Bakst has more than 25 years’ experience in managing and developing global fashion brands. Prior to the 14 years she spent at Michael Kors she was at Donna Karan for 12 years. She also holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.

Luis added: “Anna’s focus on product innovation – notably in the key categories of accessories and footwear – will be a key pillar of the Kate Spade growth strategy. Her deep experience in design, development and merchandising, and her global consumer knowledge will be invaluable assets propelling Kate Spade’s next chapter of growth.”

Bakst said she was “extremely excited about leading Kate Spade’s passionate and accomplished team” and joining Tapestry’s house of brands, which also includes Coach and Stuart Weitzman. “I believe the Kate Spade business has tremendous opportunity across product categories, channels and geographies. I look forward to leveraging the brand’s global potential and to bringing its unique and empowering feminine positioning to women around the world,” she added.

The then Coach group finalised is $2.4bn acquisition of Kate Spade in July last year. The group then rebranded as Tapestry last autumn as part of its repositioning as a luxury brand house.