South-Western - Management  
Gucci Chief to Offer a Design for Luxury In Volume
Topic Strategy, Leadership
Key Words Strategy, leadership
News Story

Robert Polet, the new chief executive of the Gucci Group is formulating his ambitious plans to double the sales of Gucci's own name brand merchandise in the next seven years. Executives who have knowledge of the details of Polet's plans say that he does not intend to do this by lowering the prices of Gucci merchandise or by selling any of Gucci's non-performing brands like Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. Rather, Polet plans to focus on turning the existing brands around; using the talents he developed as the head of Unilever's frozen foods division.

In his first five months on the job, Polet has focused on meeting with employees and building his business plan. He has been described by those at Gucci as "incredibly likeable" and as having "a big handshake, a big smile, and a big sparkle in his eye." Others say that his warm personality creates a feeling of empathy and that he understands people very well, traits that will help him in tough negotiations. Serge Weinberg, chairman of Gucci's parent company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute says that Polet "is always asking the good questions like what are we looking for, what is the target, and what is our ambition."

Questions
1.

What leadership traits does Robert Polet display? How are these traits appropriate in the business situation that Polet is in?

2.

Check your textbook for a discussion of leadership styles. What style of leader is Polet?

Source "Gucci Chief to Offer a Design for Luxury In Volume," Nytimes.com News, Dec.10, 2004, pNA.
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