In a signal that a major strategic shift is occurring, Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. today announced that Gary Friedman, the company’s chairman emeritus, creator and curator, has been reappointed co-CEO and chairman of the company’s board of directors effective immediately. The company also announced it was entering the apparel business, which may explain at least partially why it made changes in the executive suite.
Friedman will return to his prior role at the company alongside Carlos Alberini, who had been CEO. Friedman and Alberini were co-CEOs from June 2010 until October 2012, when Alberini became CEO and Friedman chairman emeritus. Before joining Restoration Hardware, Friedman worked at Williams-Sonoma, Inc., where he served as president and COO from 2000 to 2001. He became Restoration Hardware CEO in March 2001. In mid June, Restoration Hardware revealed that it had hired former Williams-Sonoma brand president Richard Harvey, appointing him chief merchandising officer, RH Kitchen and Tableware. RH Kitchen and Tableware, with RH Antiquities, is an example of new businesses Restoration has launched recently. Harvey spent 30 years at Williams-Sonoma. In his role as chief merchandising officer, RH Kitchen and Tableware, Harvey will establish a curated collection of kitchen furniture, appliances, lighting, cookware, tools and food, Restoration Hardware asserted.
Apparel also is a new business for Restoration Hardware. The retailer announced that it had acquired the exclusive right to develop Hierarchy, a new clothing concept that it is rebranding as RH Atelier. In the brand introduction, Restoration will focus on the luxury apparel, accessories, footwear and jewelry segments.
Prior to joining Restoration Hardware, Alberini, was president and CEO of Guess?, Inc., a publicly traded specialty apparel and accessories retailer. Before that, he held executive position at Footstar Inc., retail holding company Melville Corp. and Bon Ton Stores, Inc.
On the launch of the apparel line, Friedman stated, “RH Atelier will be a curated, artisan crafted luxury apparel and accessories brand that will launch with its own distinct catalog, and be integrated into the company’s next generation full line Design Galleries and web experience. The brand will be based in New York City, with a satellite office in our RH Center of Innovation and Product Leadership in Corte Madera, CA. RH Atelier will position the company for continued long-term growth and demonstrates our belief that we can curate a lifestyle well beyond the four walls of the home.”