by Stephen Garner
Jacques Panis and John Truex/ Photo by Andrew Eagen

Ghurka has hired three key executives who will help drive the company into the next chapter of its existence. Jacques Panis has joined the brand as president, John Truex as creative director, and Christina North as vice president of finance.

Panis comes to Ghurka from Mary’s Medicinals, where he served as CEO for the industry-leading cannabis brand. Panis was previously CEO of New World Diamonds and president of Shinola, where he led the company through a period of meteoric growth and helped turn the brand into a household name. Panis will oversee daily operations of the company, including expanding its direct-to-consumer footprint, generating brand awareness and relevance, revitalizing its wholesale business, and leading upcoming customer and product innovation initiatives. These areas of focus are all integral to the brand’s five-year strategic roadmap, which Panis and the team have begun developing.

“I am honored to be joining Ghurka during this exciting time in its history and look forward to leading and evolving the brand that not only has a rich heritage, but huge future potential,” said Panis. “For 45 years Ghurka has represented the pinnacle of American luxury leather goods, and we will further solidify that placement.”

Truex comes to Ghurka with a rich history in the luxury leather goods industry, co-founding Lambertson Truex in 1998. After years of awards and accolades including the Accessories Council’s ACE Award for Best New Accessories Designer and CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year, the brand was acquired by Tiffany & Company in 2009 where Truex served as vice president and design director of the Tiffany Leather Collection. He led this area of the business through a period of rapid expansion, before leaving to serve as design director for leather goods brand Shinola. Truex’s deep knowledge of the leather category will be used to modernize existing Ghurka designs and come to life through brand new creations. Customers will get the first glimpse of Truex’s work with the upcoming holiday 2021 collection, with his first full collection delivering spring 2022.

North joins Ghurka from Vera Bradley where she spent 11 years in financial planning and analytics, business intelligence, e-commerce, and operations while the brand experienced exponential growth. North was instrumental in helping the brand pivot from a promotion-led sales strategy to a product-led strategy. Ghurka will draw on her broad and diverse experience in various business finance roles and corporate functions to drive efficient, effective business finance support.

In 2019, Ghurka was acquired by a private investment group, which viewed the purchase as a major opportunity for long-term growth and brand transformation. With the announcement of these three key leadership appointments, the company is taking a step towards making good on that investment.

“We are thrilled for Jacques, John, and Christina to join the Ghurka family,” said Marc Kramer, a nationally known and respected private equity investor. “With new executive, creative and financial leadership at the helm, Ghurka is poised to enter its next chapter stronger than at any point in its 45-year history.”