by Stephen Garner

Luxury specialty retailer Barneys New York has announced today its chief executive officer succession plan. Mark Lee, CEO since 2010, has retired from full-time CEO duties and has been named executive chairman reporting to Richard Perry, whose hedge fund Perry Capital owns a majority stake in the company.

Daniella Vitale, formerly chief operating officer, has been named CEO and takes full responsibility for the leadership of the company, also reporting to Perry. Vitale joined Barneys New York in 2010 as chief merchant/executive vice president. In 2013, her role was elevated to COO where she oversaw all of women’s merchandising, business development, digital strategy, and store operations. She was responsible for overhauling the retailer’s merchandising structure, creating operating efficiencies, as well as building a competitive and dynamic digital portfolio, where the brand’s e-commerce business has grown tenfold during her tenure.

“When Perry Capital purchased Barneys, Mark Lee and I sat down to discuss the management team,” said Perry. “He told me that he had recruited Daniella Vitale and she was his heir apparent. In 2012 we put in a formal succession plan for Daniella to become CEO in 2017. Today we are pleased to announce her promotion to CEO and Mark’s move to Executive Chairman. Mark has provided excellent leadership and vision in his time as CEO. Throughout that period, Mark has had Daniella run every part of Barneys. 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.”

Lee added: “Leading Barneys New York has been a privilege and the ultimate finale for my full-time career. When I joined as CEO in 2010 I thought I would remain for four years. Six and a half years later it’s time for me to turn the day-to-day management over to Daniella who has long been my planned successor and is uniquely qualified to take the leadership reins. I will continue to support Richard Perry at the board level as I pursue other part time opportunities and passions in what I am characterizing as my retirement from full-time luxury industry work.”

“I want to thank Mark for being a mentor, partner and friend for the bulk of my career and giving me the opportunity to be part of this incredible company,” said Vitale. “I am part of an organization with a rich history, extraordinary talent and an exciting future. There is no other place like Barneys and I look forward to driving our continued success.”