Kousourna’s appointment will be effective April 17, though she will continue to support Fursac until a new CEO is brought in to oversee that brand. She’ll also remain a member of the group’s executive committee.
SMCP is the parent company of Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, as well as Fursac, which it acquired in September 2019. Current group CEO Isabelle Guichot formerly held the same position at Maje before being promoted to group head in 2017.
“Since 2015, Elina has been a key player in the group’s growth, impacting our strategy and development, as well as managing a brand in complete renewal like Fursac. It was therefore natural that [Maje founder and artistic director] Judith Milgrom and I chose Elina to continue the expansion and influence of Maje, while respecting its so singular and feminine DNA,” said Guichot. “Elina has the talent and the proper vision to lead the house and continue to work toward achieving our priorities, which are desirability, responsible development and customer satisfaction.
“I am very pleased to announce Elina’s appointment as CEO of Maje, a brand I know well for having managed it myself. This announcement is particularly important for me as it illustrates a strong value of our group: promoting talents and internal mobility,” Guichot added.
Kousourna herself has risen through the ranks at SMCP, spending four years as head of strategy and development at the group level, where she played a key role in the company’s initial public offering in 2017, helped accelerate its major international expansion drive, as well as its acquisition of Fursac. She took the top post at the men’s brand in November 2019.
“I am delighted to be joining Maje at a pivotal moment in its history and to work alongside an inspirational woman like Judith. Maje is celebrating its 25th anniversary, the right moment for the brand to further assert its identity, as modern nomad, and strengthen its global presence. I would like to thank Isabelle, Judith and the rest of the SMCP board of directors for their trust in me to write that exciting new chapter for Maje,” said Kousourna.
Under Kousourna, Fursac embarked on an ambitious overhaul. It rebranded and dropped the “De” from its name, revamped its physical stores, upscaled its concept and has grown from 54 stores mainly in France to 69 stores across Europe. She brought on designer Gauthier Borsarello as creative director in January 2021, and put the brand on the official men’s fashion week calendar in June 2022.
At Maje, she’s taking the reins at the group’s second biggest brand in terms of turnover just as SMCP is undergoing a major transition.
On March 1, U.K.-based bondholder AlixPartners launched the sale process for a 37 percent stake in the company, which could trigger a full takeover if a single shareholder snaps up more than 30 percent. Bondholders inherited their shares when former owner European Topsoho, the Luxembourg-based arm of Chinese conglomerate Shandong Ruyi, defaulted on 250 million euros of debt in September 2021.
The group reported sales of 1.2 billion euros in full-year results released earlier this month, with Europe leading the recovery as China slowly reopened.
The top position at Maje has been vacant since February, when Charlotte Tasset Ferrec departed the post after one year in the job.