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After Much Turmoil with Donatella, Versace CEO to Resign Friday

>> After weeks of speculation, Versace CEO Giancarlo Di Risio, who has been with the company since 2004, is expected to hand in his resignation at a board meeting on Friday.  Despite the fact that Di Risio worked closely with Donatella Versace to make her collections less flashy and returned the house to profit, the company has been under strain from declining sales, and its board recently approved a restructuring plan which effectively sidelines the chief executive.

Di Risio is said to have clashed with Donatella on a number of levels — he disagreed with her lavish lifestyle, according to recent articles in the Italian media, and pushed her to simplify her designs so that the house could introduce accessories and clothes with lower prices.

Donatella wanted to spend $140K a day on Mario Testino, Di Risio didn't. »

Generally speaking, the two couldn't agreed on measures of cutting costs — Di Risio was recently unhappy with Donatella's decision to use Mario Testino, who charges upwards of $140,000 a day, for an ad campaign.  Donatella, meanwhile, was upset in February over handbags designs that she hadn't been consulted about, the fact that Di Risio sidestepped her to license a cheaper line designed by someone else, and that he hadn't reduced plans for new stores.

Sources told WWD that Di Risio's replacement will be announced quickly; those pinpointed for the short list include Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who is said to be unhappy at Jil Sander, Ferragamo CEO Michele Norsa, whose relationship with the founding family is under strain, and Kim Winser, who stepped down as chief executive at Aquascutum last month. Di Risio, meanwhile, may be in the running for CEO at Roberto Cavalli, which is currently CEO-less.

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