Barneys New York announced on Thursday that Mark Lee, who has served as chief executive officer of the company since 2010, will be retiring from his position as CEO and stepping into an executive chairman role. He will be replaced by Danielle Vitale, who has been COO of the company since 2013. Vitale originally joined Barneys in 2010 as chief merchant and executive vice president. Vitale's leadership as COO has been partially credited for the brand's e-commerce division growing tenfold during her tenure, as she oversaw Barneys' digital portfolio and merchandising structure.
According to a release from the brand, Lee had named Vitale as his "heir apparent" years ago, and the brand had plans to promote her to CEO this year that dated back as far as 2012. "Mark has had Daniella run every part of Barneys," commented Richard Perry, to whom both Lee and Vitale report, in a release. "We have had a great partnership at the top of the organization and I am confident that our partnership, as well as Mark’s long term commitment to Barneys and our Board of Directors, will continue. With Daniella serving as CEO, we have the best leadership in the industry.”
Vitale and Lee both had positive things to say about one another as well, with Lee calling her "uniquely qualified to take the leadership reins" and Vitale thanking him for being "mentor, partner and friend."