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FT Business of Luxury Summit 2016

New Creative Synergies

San Francisco |  - 
Speakers include:
Francesca Bellettini

Francesca Bellettini

Saint Laurent

James 	 Curleigh

James Curleigh


Lauren Santo Domingo

Lauren Santo Domingo

Moda Operandi


The Financial Times would like to thank all the delegates, sponsors and speakers that made this year's FT Business of Luxury Summit in San Francisco such a huge success.

Widely regarded as the premium thought leadership gathering for senior luxury executives, industry leaders, corporate decision makers and financiers from around the world.  The 2016 Summit assessed how the technological revolution has changed the luxury market completely and how our understanding of what constitutes modern luxury has been totally transformed.

The US west coast has led the way in this revolution, not only in the field of technology but also in a societal shift in attitude. The 2016 Summit asked what luxury means to the modern consumer? In what ways are our manufacturing methods changing our understanding of craftsmanship, and where are the biggest areas of growth within the industry? Do words like artisanal and authenticity still have the same currency or is social responsibility the buzz word? Does a brand have to work harder to engage with the consumer and where is this engagement paying off?

Where has the growth in automation allowed the the industry to excel, and where has it posed as a threat? How has new media changed our retail models and how are brands adapting? Further, how does the modern creative find the autonomy, space and freedom to grow within a rapidly accelerated and brutal business environment?

With its unique vantage - looking towards Asia, but rooted in the old world, California is the crucible of change. The 2016 Business of Luxury Summit in San Francisco talked to the artists, economists and executives leading the creative revolution.

fallback Add to my Calendar 05/22/2016 18:30:0005/24/2016 14:00:00trueFT Business of Luxury Summit 2016The Financial Times would like to thank all the delegates, sponsors and speakers that made this year's FT Business of Luxury Summit in San Francisco such a huge success.Widely regarded as the premium thought leadership gathering for senior luxury executives, industry leaders, corporate decision makers and financiers from around the world.  The 2016 Summit assessed how the technological revolution has changed the luxury market completely and how our understanding of what constitutes modern luxury has been totally transformed.The US west coast has led the way in this revolution, not only in the field of technology but also in a societal shift in attitude. The 2016 Summit asked what luxury means to the modern consumer? In what ways are our manufacturing methods changing our understanding of craftsmanship, and where are the biggest areas of growth within the industry? Do words like artisanal and authenticity still have the same currency or is social responsibility the buzz word? Does a brand have to work harder to engage with the consumer and where is this engagement paying off?Where has the growth in automation allowed the the industry to excel, and where has it posed as a threat? How has new media changed our retail models and how are brands adapting? Further, how does the modern creative find the autonomy, space and freedom to grow within a rapidly accelerated and brutal business environment?With its unique vantage - looking towards Asia, but rooted in the old world, California is the crucible of change. The 2016 Business of Luxury Summit in San Francisco talked to the artists, economists and executives leading the creative revolution.FT-Business-of-Luxury-Summit-201602e7e7a56f71fa23b85b585b75454c88MM/DD/YYYY

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Johann Rupert


Luxury Summit 2015


Speakers (34)

Francesca Bellettini

Francesca Bellettini

President and Chief Executive Officer
Saint Laurent

An Italian national, Francesca Bellettini started her career in London as an investment banker, working at Goldman Sachs International, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell and Compass Partners International. In 1999, she joined the Prada Group in the planning & new business development division, and was appointed operations manager of Helmut Lang in 2002. Francesca Bellettini joined the Kering Group in 2003 as strategic planning director and associate worldwide merchandising director of Gucci. In November 2008, she was appointed worldwide merchandising director of Bottega Veneta and then promoted to worldwide merchandising and communications director in November 2010. In September 2013, she was appointed chief executive officer of Saint Laurent. Francesca Bellettini holds a degree from Bocconi University in Milan.

James 	 Curleigh

James Curleigh


James Curleigh (JC) joined the company in July 2012 to serve as President of the Levi’s® brand. In this position, he is responsible for leading the strategic direction and execution of the brand globally - with a focus on product creation, marketing concepts, and market solutions. His role is to drive this iconic brand confidently into the future.

His unwavering commitment to product innovation, business solutions, and leadership presence makes him a strong leader for the Levi’s® brand as well as a strong member of the company’s worldwide leadership team.

Curleigh is passionate about building brands and leading exceptional teams, and he has translated this to a track record of consistently strong results throughout his career.

Curleigh has more than 20 years of experience building and expanding consumer brands around the globe. Prior to joining Levi Strauss & Co., Curleigh served as the President and CEO of KEEN Footwear, Inc., a footwear and accessory company. Before KEEN, Curleigh was President and CEO of Salomon Sports North America, an innovative performance sports company. He also established and led TaylorMade adidas golf division in Europe and held various leadership positions in the London office of M&M Mars, a global consumer goods company.

Curleigh is a triple citizen of the USA, Canada, and the UK. He lives in San Francisco, California with his wife and 3 kids. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, Canada and has attended both Harvard & Stanford for executive programs. He has always ‘lived in Levi’s’!  

Lauren Santo Domingo

Lauren Santo Domingo

Moda Operandi

Lauren co-founded Moda Operandi in July 2010. Inspired by the way she curated her own wardrobe – as a Vogue editor, she had built strong relationships with designers and so was granted instant access to their clothes straight from the runway – she wanted other women to experience the same. Invited to pre-order her favourite pieces from the collections as soon as they happened meant that she barely had to shop when the new season landed; she had already secured everything she wanted, from wardrobe fillers to statement pieces. Her friends asked her how she had managed to buy the items that they too wanted, and she realized that the option to shop like an editor was a luxury only afforded to the very few. 

Determined to offer this unique shopping experience to women the world over, Lauren co-founded Moda Operandi with former Gilt Groupe executive, Aslaug Magnusdottir in 2010. The luxury fashion site, which is unlike any of its peers, launched in 2011, and immediately reinvented the retail model allowing women the opportunity to pre-order looks from the international ready-to-wear runways via online trunk shows opening within hours of the runway presentation. With unprecedented first and full access to the collections – from established designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Dolce & Gabbana to newer names like Rosie Assoulin and Johanna Ortiz, as well as accessory lines and fine, vintage and estate jewelry – the term ‘pre-tail’ was coined.

In five short years and with 130% growth year-over-year, today, Moda Operandi employs 125 people and operates from its 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Tribeca, in addition to a 3,000-square-foot Grade-II listed mews house in Belgravia, London.

Raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, Lauren Santo Domingo received her education at the University of Southern California, where she studied BA History. Upon her graduation, she embarked on a career in fashion, beginning as an assistant at US Vogue, before working as a PR director at J. Mendel, which was followed by a tenure at Carolina Herrera, as vice-president of communications. In 2005, she returned to US Vogue in a contributing editor role, a position that she still holds today.

Rodrigo		 Bazan

Rodrigo Bazan

Chief Executive Officer
Thom Browne

Rodrigo Bazan was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Thom Browne in May 2016. Prior to this he served as President of Alexander Wang since 2010. As the brand’s first president, Mr Bazan successfully led Alexander Wang’s product and business growth, with strategic repositioning onto designer floors and the rollout of 27 stores worldwide.

Additionally, under Bazan’s leadership, the brand has pioneered a number of global initiatives, including, in 2014, Alexander Wang becoming the first American designer to collaborate with H&M.

Mr Bazan’s extensive executive background includes experiences at Gucci Group and LVMH working in NYC, Paris, London, and Florence. Between 2007 and 2010, Mr Bazan worked as Vice President and General Manager for Marc Jacobs Europe, Middle East, and India territories.

Prior, Mr Bazan worked at Gucci Group in Florence, where he was first promoted to Chief Financial Officer of Alexander McQueen and was later appointed General Manager of Alexander McQueen. He began his professional career as a consultant in Deloitte & Touche Buenos Aires and subsequently in Motorola European headquarters in London.

Since 2012, Bazan has served as an annual member of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund business advisory committee. Mr Bazan was born in Argentina. He was educated in Argentina, Germany, and USA and is a graduate of the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE) in Buenos Aires.

Andrea Bonomi

Andrea Bonomi



Andrea Bonomi established Investindustrial in 1990 and Invest for Children in 2000 and Chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board. Previously, he was responsible for the Saffa Group (a diversified industrial holding company) and investments in Europe and the USA. He has been chairman or director of a number of industrial and financial companies including Banca Popolare di Milano, RCS MediaGroup, Permasteelisa, and 21 Investimenti, 21 Centrale Partners and Inversiones Ibersuizas. Prior to that, he was at Kleinwort Benson in London, where he was responsible for Spain and Italy, and at Lazard Frères & Co. in New York. He is a member of NYU’s President’s Global Council, and a Private Equity Awards “Hall of Fame” (2018) inductee.

Mr Bonomi holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration from New York University (1986) and he is a member of its President’s Global Council. He speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Thomas Chauvet

Thomas Chauvet

Head of European Luxury Goods Equity Research

Thomas Chauvet heads Citi's European luxury goods equity research team in London. Before joining Citi in 2005, he worked at L'Oréal's corporate finance division as an internal auditor in Paris, Asia and Latin America. He began his career in audit and business advisory at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Paris within the retail and consumer goods practice.

Mr Chauvet holds a degree in Business Administration from Dauphine University in Paris and a Master of Science (MSc) in Supply Chain Management from Edinburgh University.

Adrian Cheng

Adrian Cheng

Founding Partner, C Ventures;
Founder, K11

A cultural entrepreneur and art pioneer, Adrian Cheng successfully created the K11 brand in 2009. Termed ‘museum retail’ concept, K11 is a new hybrid model of commercial projects combining art and commerce, building high-end lifestyle art malls, offices and serviced apartments in Greater China. K11 serves as a cultural hub to the local community, and provides a curated retail experience to its customers. Following the opening of the Hong Kong and Shanghai K11 in 2009 and 2013 respectively, there will be 16 completed K11 projects in Greater China by year 2021. He also founded the K11 Art Foundation in 2010, the first non-profit art foundation in China to incubate young emerging contemporary Chinese artists and curators, and to promote art education among the Chinese public.

As an Executive Director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, Mr Cheng is in charge of strategy, branding, marketing, e-commerce and VIP programme. He injected his creative concepts into the 87-year-old, 2,200-stores jewellery brand and introduced the high jewellery collections (e.g. ‘Ombre di Milano’ in 2013 and ‘Reflections of Siem’ in 2014), which showcased the exceptional craftsmanship and creativity of Chow Tai Fook. He spearheaded the strategic acquisition of Hearts on Fire in 2014, complementing Chow Tai Fook’s product portfolio with an exclusive premium diamond jewellery line and to raise Chow Tai Fook’s profile as world-class diamond expert in the jewellery industry. Together with the Italian private equity fund Clessidra, Chow Tai Fook recently acquired 90% of the fashion house Roberto Cavalli, where Mr Cheng also sits on the Board.

Mr Cheng is a graduate of Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in East Asian Studies. He was honoured with the title of “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in 2012, and was appointed as an Alternate Member (Hong Kong) to the APEC Business Advisory Council in 2014. He is ranked among the ArtReview Power 100 list in 2014 and 2015, and is Board Member of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and member of the Interim Acquisition and Museum Committee, Board Member of the Public Art Fund New York, Trustee of Royal Academy of Arts, and various committees at TATE, Centre Pompidou and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Peter Copping

Peter Copping

Creative Director
Oscar de la Renta

Raised in Oxford, England, Peter Copping moved to London at the age of eighteen to study fashion design at Central Saint Martins. He then went on to receive his Graduate degree from the Royal College of Art.   During his graduate studies, Peter was invited to work for Christian Lacroix in Paris, his first studio experience in high fashion. Peter then accepted a position at Sonia Rykiel which would prepare him for a twelve-year tenure at Louis Vuitton  where he oversaw the women's ready-to wear collection as Studio Director under Marc Jacobs.

In 2009, Peter joined Nina Ricci as Artistic Director. There, he spent five years finessing the house's legacy of supreme femininity and romance. For his work at Nina Ricci, Copping received the Fashion Group International Fashion Star award in 2014.

In October of 2014, Peter Copping was appointed Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta. Hand picked by Mr. de la Renta before his passing, Peter is responsible for setting the design direction across all product categories in the New York based company.

Fall 2015 is Copping's first collection for Oscar de la Renta.

Brunello  Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli

President and Chief Executive Officer
Brunello Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli is President and CEO of Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A., an Italian fashion house active in the top-end luxury products sector and specialising in cashmere. Over the years, the company has become one of the most globally exclusive brands in the informal luxury ready-to-wear sector. Cucinelli’s lifelong dream has always been that of making human work more humane, and seeking to instil a sense of moral and economic dignity in said work. The aim has always been to combine profit, gifts and stewardship, so as to create a sort of “contemporary humanist capitalism.”

He has received numerous international awards including the Order of Merit for Labour presented by the President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano and an Honorary Degree in Philosophy and Ethics of Human Relationships from the University of Perugia, Italy.

Frederic Cumenal

Frederic Cumenal

Chief Executive Officer
Tiffany & Co.

Frederic Cumenal is chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co., the internationally renowned jeweller and premier luxury brand. Mr Cumenal assumed this position in April 2015.

Mr Cumenal joined Tiffany in 2011 as executive vice president. He was named president of Tiffany & Co. in 2013 and appointed to the Tiffany & Co. board of directors. Under his leadership, the company has continued to expand globally, with new stores in Asia and Europe, including the 2014 opening of a Tiffany & Co. store on the avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. In addition, he guided the development of new collections, including Tiffany T and a new timepiece that have expanded the brand’s reach and underscore Tiffany’s reputation for style and tradition of excellence.

In 2015, Mr Cumenal was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Prior to joining Tiffany in 2011, Mr Cumenal held senior leadership positions at LVMH Group, most recently as president and chief executive officer of Moët & Chandon.

Before joining LVMH in 1995, he served in various general management and marketing capacities for Procter & Gamble, the Ferruzzi Group and Mars.

Mr Cumenal is a graduate of Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Ecole Superieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (Essec) and the Harvard Business School. 

Luisa Delgado

Luisa Delgado

Chief Executive Officer
Safilo SpA

Luisa Deplazes de Andrade Delgado (born in Rabius, Canton of Graubuenden, Switzerland, on August 9, 1966), is Chief Executive Officer of Safilo Group and Safilo SpA as of October 15, 2013. She was previously an independent Director of Safilo Group.

She holds a Licence en Droit from the Université de Genève (Switzerland), a Master of Laws LLM, from King’s College/London School of Economics (University of London) and a Postgraduate Diploma of European Studies from the Universidade Lusiada (Lisbon, Portugal).

She attended academic summer schools in History, Arts and Political Science in Italy (Florence), Ireland (Dublin), Spain (Santander), Holland (The Hague-International Court of Justice) and various Language schools in Ireland, the US, Canada, France, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Sweden.

She joined Procter & Gamble in early 1991, and held, amongst others, roles of increasing responsibility in Human Resources at Procter and Gamble before assuming, between 1999 and 2007, responsibility for the Group’s Human Resources function for the Western European region.

From mid 2007 to mid 2012, she was General Manager and Vice President for Procter & Gamble Nordic (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway) based in Stockholm, Sweden.

She speaks Raetoromanisch (4th Swiss national language), English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Spanish, and very basic Swedish.

From September 2012 to July 2013, Luisa worked for SAP A.G. as Member of the Global Executive Board, in charge of Global Human Resources and Labour Relations Director, based in Germany.

She is a member of the Supervisory Board of INGKA Holding B.V. (also called the IKEA Group), Leiden, Netherlands.  

Michael  Evans

Michael Evans

Alibaba Group

J. Michael Evans was named president of Alibaba Group in August 2015. As president, Michael is responsible for leading and executing Alibaba Group's international growth strategy for globalizing the company and expanding its business outside of China. He also serves as a member of Alibaba's board, having served as an independent director since the company's initial public offering in September 2014.

Michael served as vice chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. from February 2008 until December 2013. He served as chairman of Asia operations at Goldman Sachs from 2004 to 2013 and was the global head of Growth Markets at Goldman Sachs from January 2011 to December 2013. He also co-chaired the Business Standards Committee of Goldman Sachs from 2010 to 2013. Michael joined Goldman Sachs in 1993, became a partner of the firm in 1994 and held various leadership positions within the firm's securities business while based in New York and London, including global head of equity capital markets and global co-head of the equities division, and global co-head of the securities business.

Michael is chairman of the board of Right To Play USA and a board member of City Harvest. He is also a trustee of the Asia Society and a member of the Advisory Council for the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Barrick Gold Corporation and Castleton Commodities International LLC.

Michael received his bachelor's degree in politics from Princeton University in 1981.

Tony  Fadell

Tony Fadell

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Nest
SVP, Google

Tony Fadell is founder and CEO of Nest – maker of the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Protect smoke + CO alarm, and Nest Cam - and an SVP at Google, overseeing Project Aura (formerly Glass).

Prior to Nest, Tony served as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, reporting to Steve Jobs. He was responsible for creating the first 18 generations of the iPod digital music player and the first three generations of the iPhone. In 2001, after eight weeks of researching and designing the iPod product solution as a contractor, he was hired to create and lead the implementation team.

Before joining Apple, Tony was a co-founder, CTO and director of engineering of the Mobile Computing group at Philips Electronics. He architected the award-winning Velo and Nino PDAs, based on the Windows CE Palm PC platform, and later became vice president of business development for Philips U.S. Strategy and Ventures, managing its digital music strategy and investments.

Earlier in his career, Tony was a hardware and software architect at General Magic working with Sony, Philips, Matsushita, Toshiba and other consumer electronics firms to develop a line of personal handheld communicators.

Tony is currently an advisor to and investor in several Silicon Valley startups in the mobile-Internet and green-tech industries, helping them craft and implement their business, technical and product strategies.

In his 20-plus years of experience in the consumer electronics industry, Tony has authored more than 300 patents. 

He graduated with a B.S. in computer engineering from the University of Michigan in 1991 and won the College of Engineering's alumnus of the year award in 2004. In 2013, he was named to CNN’s list of 10 Thinkers and in 2014, was included as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He’s appeared on Vanity Fair’s annual New Establishment List since 2013.

Lisa Marie  Fernandez

Lisa Marie Fernandez

Founder, Creative Director
Lisa Marie Fernandez

Lisa Marie Fernandez is the Founder, CEO & Creative Director of one of world’s most innovative and widely sought out luxury fashion labels.  Incorporating fine details and construction typically used in ready-to-wear into her swim and active wear collections – her continued unconventional approach has turned the swimsuit collection she launched over half a decade ago into the global lifestyle brand it is today.

Born in New York, Lisa Marie launched her career as a fashion editor at several publications including Vogue (US), Numero (FRANCE), and ELLE (US), and later went on to establish herself as an international fashion stylist.  In 2009, after recognizing the desire in the market for intelligent, sophisticated swimwear - she launched her namesake collection.  The designer’s directional sensibility has appeared on the covers of the most prestigious publications such as W, Vanity Fair, Vogue (UK), Harper’s Bazaar (UK), ELLE and T: The New York Times Style Magazine.  Lisa Marie has inspired a passionate cult following of her lifestyle within the social media platform; the label is coveted and worn by fashion leaders and celebrities such as Beyoncé and Rihanna.  Available in over 30 countries and 160 doors, the discerning selection of global retailers include Net-A-Porter, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lane Crawford, Bon Marche, and Selfridges.  

Martin  Ford

Martin Ford

Rise of the Robots

Martin Ford was awarded the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award in November 2015 for his book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. The book reflects growing anxiety in some quarters about the possible negative impact of automation on jobs, from manufacturing to professional services. In Rise of the Robots, Mr Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish and implores employers, scholars and policy makers alike to face the implications. Mr Ford is also the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm, has over 25 years of experience in computer design and software development. He was the first modern writer to raise the issue of technology-led unemployment. He lives in Sunnyvale, California and tweets at @MFordFuture.

Philipp Gajzer

Philipp Gajzer

Managing Director
Move Now Luxury Brokers & Advisors

Philipp Gajzer is Managing Director of Move Now Luxury Brokers & Advisors and Managing Director of Move Now Commercial Brokers a German based company that provides transaction services for luxury retail real estate and advises some of the top players in the luxury market.

After studying Medicine and Law in Frankfurt and Heidelberg Universities, Mr Gajzer co-founded the company in 2003 and led its international growth, with the company currently operating in Europe, Asia and US, procuring only in premium locations such as Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Bond Street in London, Canton Road in Hong Kong, Nanjing Xi Lu in Shanghai and Madison Avenue in New York. He works with the world’s most prestigious luxury brands, including Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, Jimmy Choo, Harry Winston, Loro Piana and Prada.

Michael Garcia

Michael Garcia

Advisory Senior Manager
Jens Grede

Jens Grede

Wednesday Agency Group and FRAME

Jens Grede is the Founder of Wednesday Agency Group, the world’ s leading fashion marketing group as well as the Founder of FRAME, one of the fastest growing premium brands in the US.

Born in Sweden in 1978, Grede started his career at Stockholm New magazine and trend consultancy where he became Managing Editor at the age of 21. Shortly thereafter, in 2000, he was asked by Tyler Brule, founder of Wallpaper* Magazine to join the Canadian's burgeoning publishing and marketing house The Wallpaper Group, a division of Time Inc. At The Wallpaper Group Jens worked as part of a team that rebranded Swissair and created the advertising for Time Magazine, before leaving the firm in 2003 to found Saturday Group with his business partner Erik Torstensson that, in 2012, became Wednesday Agency.

In 2015, Grede sold a majority of Wednesday Agency Group to BBDO Worldwide (publ. Omnicom) with a view to grow the company into a global boutique network focused on the consumer, retail and media industries.

In 2012, Torstensson & Grede successfully launched their first own brand in retail, FRAME, where they serve as Creative Directors, which was born out of a desire to create a brand of chic essentials with denim at the core. It is now available in approx. 1,500 stores around the world including Net-A-Porter, Selfridges and Barney's.

Outside of his day-to-day commitments, Grede serves as Non- Executive Director, Global Fashion Group. The company focuses on capturing the growth opportunity of fashion e-commerce in emerging markets. Jens is also a Non-Executive Director of Qliro Group (publ NASDAQ QLRO,    QLIRO GROUP, (SE0003652163); QLRIO, a leading group of e-commerce and financial services in the Nordics. He also partners with key investors in the fashion and finance industries to act as an advisor and venture investor in emerging brands.

Lisa Green

Lisa Green

Head of Industry, Fashion and Luxury Brands

Lisa Green is currently Google's Head of Industry for the Fashion & Luxury Goods sector. Over the past four years, Lisa and her team have been at the forefront of bringing together fashion and technology, pioneering partnerships with major fashion brands, including Burberry, Ralph Lauren, CHANEL and Tory Burch. Joining Google in 2005, Lisa has held a variety of positions, always with a focus on global brand building. She was a founding member of Google's Agency Development Team, launched the Campaigns & Elections Team, and has been the recipient of numerous awards.

Prior to joining Google, Lisa spent 2 years at National Journal Group, working with large advertisers that targeted beltway insiders and Members of Congress. Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and History from Middlebury College. She is fluent in Spanish and serves on the board of Five Under Forty, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young women diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Debra Gunn Downing

Debra Gunn Downing

Executive Director, Marketing
South Coast Plaza

Debra Gunn Downing has been shaping the direction of Orange County’s luxury retail landscape for the past 16 years as Executive Director of Marketing for South Coast Plaza. With annual sales approaching $2 billion, the internationally renowned shopping destination is home to more than 250 prominent boutiques and critically-acclaimed restaurants. Ms Downing has spent more than 25 years honing her skills in strategic planning, advertising, public relations, sales and corporate communications at retail and fashion stalwarts such as the Taubman Company and Neiman Marcus, working in every key retail market in the United States.

Since 1999, Ms Downing has been involved in the development and implementation of all marketing efforts for South Coast Plaza. She directs creative, advertising, public relations, sponsorships, tenant relations, retail services, community relations, social media and event marketing. Additionally, Ms Downing is responsible for developing collaborative partnerships with local civic, business and community resources and implementation of market research programs.

Previously, Ms Downing was Director of Regional Marketing for The Taubman Company in Bloomfield Hills, MI, overseeing all marketing activities for 16 regional shopping centers across the nation. She also spent years with Neiman Marcus as National Director of Corporate Communications in Dallas, Texas.

Debra graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwood University in Michigan. She did advanced coursework in international marketing and fashion at Northwood Europe in Paris, France.

Ms Downing has a strong commitment to community and charitable endeavors. She is an active philanthropist for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory, SOKA University, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Pacific Symphony, Orange County Museum of Art and Rainforest Flow.

Victor Luis

Victor Luis

Chief Executive Officer
Coach, Inc.

Mr Luis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Coach, Inc. in January 2014. Prior to his appointment, and beginning in February 2013, he held the role of President and Chief Commercial Officer of Coach, Inc., with oversight for all of the company’s revenue-generating units, strategy and merchandising, also serving on Coach’s Board of Directors.

Mr Luis has been a member of the senior leadership team since joining Coach in 2006, holding a number of key international management roles and spearheading the company’s successful expansion strategy in Asia. Most recently, he served as President, International Group, with responsibility for all of Coach's operations outside of North America. Prior, he was President of Coach Retail International, where he oversaw the company's directly-operated businesses in China (Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China), Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, and President & CEO, Coach China and Coach Japan. Mr Luis originally joined Coach as President & CEO, Coach Japan, Inc.

Prior to joining Coach, from 2002 to 2006, Mr. Luis was the President and Chief Executive Officer for Baccarat, Inc., running the North American operation of the French luxury brand. Earlier in his career, Mr. Luis held marketing and sales positions within the Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) Group. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from College of the Holy Cross and a Master of Arts degree from University College, Durham University, UK.

Clive Ng

Clive Ng


Mr Ng emanates from an old-established family based in Penang, Malaysia. He operates as a Media Sector financier. He was instrumental in securing joint venture partnerships between Pacific Media (LSE: PCM) and United Artists Theatres (renamed Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) and Television Broadcasts (TVB) of Hong Kong. He was Co-CEO of United International Asia Holdings, a partnership between United International Holdings Inc (UIH) (since renamed Liberty Global, NASDAQ LBTYA) and his family, a US cable company, to enter the Asian market. He co-founded and Vice Chairman TVB Superchannel Europe in 1992, which has grown to become Europe’s leading Chinese language broadcaster. He also was the CEO of Pacific Media PLC (LSE: PCM) a home shopping company and initiated the purchase of TV Media from H&Q Asia Pacific and built the company to over US$450 mm in market capitalisation. He subsequently sold control of the company to the Koo family from Taiwan. He also owned a 50% stake in HongKong SuperNet, the first Hong Kong based ISP which was then sold to Pacific Internet (NASDAQ:PCNTF).

Mr Ng has many years of experience with internet start-ups and e-commerce companies in Asia. He was Chairman and founder of Asiacontent, (NASDAQ:IASIA), one of the first Asian internet companies to list in the US that was the joint venture partner of NBCi, MTVi, C-NET, CBS Sportsline and DoubleClick in Asia. Mr Ng was also one of the initial investors and founder of E*TRADE Asia, a partnership with E*TRADE Financial Corp (NYSE: ET). He is also a founding shareholder of MTV Japan, with H&Q Asia Pacific and MTV Networks (a division of Viacom Inc). He was Chairman of China Broadband Limited (since renamed to You On Demand: YOD) from 2007 - 2010. He is currently Chairman of China Cablecom Limited (CABL). He served as a Senior Advisor to Warner Music Group Inc. (NYSE: WMG). He is currently on the Board of the Eton College Campaign Committee.

James Quarles

James Quarles

Global Head of Business and Brand Development

James Quarles runs monetization at Instagram and is responsible for developing marketing solutions for any-size company and building Instagram's business. His team works with a diverse set of companies, from fashion to financial services, to help find their visual voice and drive their business objectives on the platform. People come to Instagram to be authentic and follow their passions, creating a highly-engaged community for discovering brands, products, apps and services.

In 2015, James was named in AdWeek’s Top 50 Vital Leaders in Tech, Media and Marketing for helping to, “transform Instagram into a full-blown advertising company.” Additionally, James serves as an advisor for Freeformers, a London-based organization that offers digital training for business professionals and underserved youth. He is also a trustee for Bigga Fish, a group that inspires and teaches young creatives through events, workshops, and development courses.

Prior to his role at Instagram, James worked in London for 10 years, most recently as Facebook’s regional director for the UK and Southern Europe where he led those markets and served as executive sponsor for many of the company’s largest global advertising relationships.  Prior to Facebook he worked at Dell as general manager in the UK with responsibilities for product, pricing, CRM and integrated campaigns. He has also worked at TiVo and in management consulting at AT Kearney. He holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia. James and his wife Shelly have three young children and love taking photos of their travels.

Sarah Quinlan

Sarah Quinlan

Senior Vice President and Group Head of Market Insights
MasterCard Advisors

Sarah Quinlan is the Senior Vice President and Group Head of Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors, the analytics and insights consulting unit of MasterCard. Providing macro-to-micro economic trends related to consumer spending and retail sales, Sarah advises executives across industries, including retail, banking, capital markets and government agencies. She and her team analyse and predict spending patterns, based on the billions of anonymous purchases MasterCard processes every year, to create solutions that help clients make better business decisions.

Sarah is widely recognized as an expert in her field and appears regularly in the media including CNBC, the Associated Press, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg TV, the Times of London, The Daily Telegraph, and Women's Wear Daily (WWD). She is also a frequent speaker at prominent industry conferences such as the Financo CEO Forum, Milken Institute Global Conference, WWD CEO Summit and 100 Women in Hedge Funds.

Prior to joining MasterCard Advisors in 2013, Sarah spent 28 years in the capital markets as an investment banker, portfolio manager and hedge fund manager.

Sarah received her BA and MBA from the University of Chicago in Politics, Economics, Rhetoric and Law with Special Honors and in Finance and Accounting, respectively.

Hiroshi  Ohnishi

Hiroshi Ohnishi

President and Chief Executive Officer
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd

Hiroshi Ohnishi became President and Chief Executive Officer of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd, Japan’s largest net sales department store, in 2012. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings currently has 27 domestic department stores located throughout Japan in addition to 31 stores overseas.

Hiroshi Ohnishi joined Isetan Co Ltd in 1979, as head of men’s fashion merchandising. During his early career he worked in stores across Japan and internationally, in addition to taking a management role in Malaysia.

When Mr Ohnishi assumed his current role, the Japanese economy was facing many challenges, and sales across Japanese department stores were falling. In the face of these challenges Mr Ohnishi focused on a concept of “providing absolute value to our customers”. He believes that Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings should provide excellent goods, services and store environments which exceed customer expectations, at an appropriate price. Mr Ohnishi’s key focus is to achieve a balance between price and value. He is also a strong advocate for employee’s working conditions, which have typically been poor as a whole, across Japanese department stores. He believes the provision of good working conditions, motivates his staff to provide better service to their customers.

Hiroshi Ohnishi is currently focusing on revolutionising department stores in Japan by using high technology and is currently focusing on the collaboration between fashion and digital technology. 

Simon Rawlings

Simon Rawlings

Creative Director
David Collins Studio

Simon Rawlings is the Creative Director of David Collins Studio, a role he has held since 2007. Simon is ultimately responsible for the overall creative output of The Studio, and for nurturing and inspiring the 60-strong team.

Simon joined The Studio in 1997, working closely with, and being mentored by, the late David Collins. Born in Wales, Simon was educated at Birmingham University where he received both his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Interior Design.

Historically Simon led the Studio’s hospitality and retail teams, and now he is responsible for the creative vision of each of the Studio’s residential, hospitality and retail projects. 

A self-confessed travel junky, Simon gleans inspiration from his travels by seeking out tradition and craft that can be reinvented to be woven into the complex narratives of The Studio’s projects.

His passions are fine engineering, vintage transportation, food trends and the ceremony of how people use and interact with the built environment. David Collins Studio places functionality within a space at the core of every design and Simon is the ultimate guardian of this.

Paolo  Riva

Paolo Riva

Chief Executive Officer
Diane von Furstenberg Studio LLC

Paolo Riva is CEO of Diane von Furstenberg Studio LLC, overseeing all divisions of the global lifestyle luxury brand founded by Ms von Furstenberg in 1972. An innovative brand strategist with a passion for luxury product and customer experience, Mr Riva joined DVF in 2015 and has extensive experience in finance, global merchandising, marketing, and product development for such storied brands as Valentino and Salvatore Ferragamo. Mr Riva, who most recently served as Vice President Apparel and Visual Merchandising for Tory Burch LLC, was born and raised in Italy, where he received his MBA from SDA Bocconi in Milan. He lives in New York City.

Robert E.  Rubin

Robert E. Rubin

Co-Chair Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

Robert E. Rubin served as the 70th Secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 1995 to 1999. He joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as the first director of the National Economic Council.

Mr Rubin began his career in finance at Goldman, Sachs & Company in 1966, serving as co-senior partner and co-chairman from 1990 to 1992. From 1999 to 2009, he was a member of the board of directors at Citigroup and a senior advisor to the company.  In 2010, he joined Centerview Partners as senior counsellor.

In June 2017, he concluded his 10-year term as Co-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations but serves as Co-Chairman Emeritus; serves as a member of the boards of trustees of the Mount Sinai Health System; and is chairman of the board of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.  In 2014, he completed a 12-year term as a member of the Harvard Corporation, and is now a member of its Finance Committee. He was one of the founders of The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.

Mr Rubin is the author of In An Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington, which was a New York Times bestseller and was named one of Business Week’s ten best business books of the year.  He graduated from Harvard summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics; he received a law degree from Yale, and attended the London School of Economics.  He has received numerous honorary degrees.  

Joseph Sitt

Joseph Sitt

President and Chief Executive Officer
Thor Equities

Joseph Sitt is President & CEO of Thor Equities, a global leader in urban real estate development, leasing and management of commercial, residential, retail, hotel and mixed-use assets.  Founded in 1986 by Mr Sitt, Thor Equities owns prime property throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America.

Mr Sitt is also CEO of Thor Retail Advisors, a premier leasing agent and exclusive representative of global retailers; Chairman of Thor Urbana, which develops and acquires properties in Latin America; and Chairman and Managing Principal of Thor Urban Property Funds, an investment vehicle serving pension funds, investment banks, top-tier college endowments and foundations.

Ganesh Srivats

Ganesh Srivats

Vice President, North America Sales

Ganesh Srivats, Vice President of North America Sales, joined Tesla in May of 2015. He was previously Senior Vice President of Retail-Americas at Burberry.

Ganesh joined Tesla with over 16 years of global retail, strategy, finance, and business development experience. He is a graduate from University of Bridgeport (BS) in Connecticut as well as University of the Arts (MA) in London and currently resides in Palo Alto, California.

Erik Torstensson

Erik Torstensson

Wednesday Agency Group and FRAME

Erik Torstensson is the Founder of Wednesday Agency Group, the world’s leading fashion marketing group as well as the Founder of FRAME, one of the fastest growing premium brands in the US.

Born in Sweden in 1978, Torstensson started his career at Winkreative as Creative Director. In 2003 he and Grede left their respective roles and to found Saturday Group that, in 2012, became Wednesday Agency.

Since the inception of Saturday Group, Torstensson has been the leading creative director, spanning from conception to execution, on numerous successful and recognizable global campaigns, including Calvin Klein, Mango, H&M, Tory Sport and the rebranding of the iconic French department store Galeries Lafayette and contemporary American brand Theory.

Additionally, the concept of was originally the brainchild of Torstensson who identified a need in the marketplace for an online men’s style-destination that could serve as an authority on men’s style.

In 2012, Torstensson & Grede successfully launched their first own brand in retail, FRAME, where they serve as Creative Directors, which was born out of a desire to create a brand of chic essentials with denim at the core. It is now available in approx. 1,500 stores around the world including Net-A-Porter, Selfridges and Barney's.

Alongside his day-to-day commitments, Torstensson is a successful photographer and director shooting editorial for VOGUE, 032c, PORTER and he & Grede’s own venture INDUSTRIE magazine, as well as shooting campaigns for H&M; Kurt Geiger, Max & Co, Net-a-Porter and directing commercials for Calvin Klein, H&M and Gap.

Daniella	 Vitale

Daniella Vitale

Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Vice President
Barneys New York

Daniella Vitale joined Barneys in December of 2010. Daniella oversees e-commerce, e-business strategy as well as women’s merchandising for the brand. Vitale has played a key role, alongside Mark Lee, in the re-building of Barneys .

Vitale moved to New York to study at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising and then the Fashion Institute of Technology. She began her career in the luxury sector as a Merchandise Manager at Salvatore Ferragamo. From there she joined Giorgio Armani as Vice President of Wholesale in 1994 and then joined Gucci in 1999 in a similar capacity. In 2006, Daniella was named President and CEO of Gucci America.

Daniella has also been very active in the philanthropic sector receiving two awards for her charitable contributions: Champion of Children award from LIFT and Women Who Get it Right from NBCCF. Daniella now sits on the New York Business Advisory Board of UNICEF as the Vice Chair.

Julie Wainwright

Julie Wainwright

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
The RealReal

Julie Wainwright is transforming the luxury resale industry and buying habits of luxury shoppers through The RealReal, the leading authenticated luxury consignment site. Julie was an e-commerce pioneer as CEO of in 1997 and in 1999. She was recently named to the Business of Fashion 500 list, featuring the most influential people shaping the global fashion industry today. 

In 2014 she was named one of Tech Crunches "40 Over 40" Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and was recognized by The San Francisco Business Times as one of the most admired CEOs of the year. In 2013 she was recognized as a top female entrepreneur by the San Francisco Business Times and received the FashInvest Innovation Award. She is a frequent speaker at industry events like Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit and Decoded Fashion, along with top universities like Purdue and Stanford University.

Emily Weiss

Emily Weiss

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Emily Weiss is the founder and CEO of Glossier, a modern beauty products brand made by editors who ‘get’ what works, and inspired by what girls want in real life. Together with her Glossier community, she is leading a movement that celebrates individuality and personal style. Emily lives in New York City and is addicted to Instagram for inspiration, meeting new people, and leading her team of passionate and talented girls (and boys!) who believe in rethinking beauty.


FT Contributors (8)

Lionel Barber

Lionel Barber

Financial Times

Lionel Barber is the editor of the Financial Times. Since his appointment in 2005, Mr Barber has helped solidify the FT’s position as one of the first publishers to successfully transform itself into a multichannel news organisation. During his tenure, the FT has won numerous global prizes for its journalism, including Newspaper of the Year, Overseas Press Club, Gerald Loeb and Society of Publishers in Asia awards. He has co-written several books and has lectured widely on foreign policy, transatlantic relations, European security and monetary union in the US and Europe and appears regularly on TV and radio around the world. As editor, he has interviewed many of the world’s leaders in business and politics, including: former US President Barack Obama, sitting US president Donald Trump, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani.

Mr Barber has received several distinguished awards, including the St George Society medal of honour and the Legion d’Honneur and in February 2018, the Media Society’s annual award for his outstanding contribution to journalism. He serves on the Board of Trustees at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is Chairman of the Tate.

Jo Ellison

Jo Ellison

Editor, How To Spend It
Financial Times

Jo Ellison is the Editor of How To Spend It. Before this she was Fashion Editor of the Financial Times.

Ms Ellison is the author of Vogue: The Gown, an overview of evening dresses in British Vogue over the last century. In 2013 she was named Features Writer of the Year by the Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards.

As Features Director at British Vogue between 2008 and 2014, Ms Ellison wrote and commissioned the title’s main features and interviews for both the magazine and website, across topics including food, beauty, politics and health. She is a former Features Editor at the Independent and started her career at the Irish Examiner. She holds an MA in History from the University of Edinburgh.

Beatrice Hodgkin

Beatrice Hodgkin

Deputy Editor
How To Spend It

Beatrice Hodgkin is deputy editor of How To Spend It, the Financial Times’ luxury lifestyle magazine, which was voted Colour Supplement of the Year at The 2015 Newsawards, the 13th time that it has received this accolade. She was previously culture editor of Conde Nast’s Easy Living magazine, in 2010 was named Journalist of the Year at the PPC awards (Publisher’s Publicity Circle), and is the author of two books – on buying art and London style.

Ben Hughes

Ben Hughes

Global Commercial Director and Deputy CEO
Financial Times

Ben Hughes was appointed FT global commercial director and deputy CEO in November 2006. He oversees advertising sales operations, global print circulation and has responsibility for global marketing. Mr Hughes reports to John Ridding, the Financial Times’ chief executive officer, and sits on the FT’s board of management. Prior to his current role Mr Hughes was the FT’s worldwide advertising director, and before that he was European advertisement director and advertising and marketing director for Continental Europe. He first joined the FT in 1983 as sales and marketing manager for France, based in Paris and in 1987 he became publishing director for the FT in France. Mr Hughes began his career in 1976 as a teacher of French, German and English, working in a range of schools and countries. In 1981 he moved into advertising sales at Playboy and Media Networks. In June 2012 Hughes was appointed Chairman of Walpole, the not-for-profit organisation that represents the British luxury industry and over 180 leading British luxury brands including Burberry, Mulberry, Harrods and Jimmy Choo. Graduating from the University of Oxford with an MA (Hons) in Modern Languages, Mr Hughes is a qualified teacher. 

John Ridding

John Ridding

Financial Times Group

John Ridding is the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Times Group, a role he has held for the past 10 years. Under his stewardship the FT has expanded its global operations, successfully scaled and transformed its core business and acquired a number of companies that support its multichannel strategy including Money-Media, Medley Global Advisors, Exec-Appointments, Assanka (renamed FT Labs), Alpha Grid and most recently Longitude.

He managed the acquisition of the FT by Nikkei in 2015, a merger than has been completed smoothly to create a global news media leader. He also serves as a Special Executive Director of Nikkei. He is co-chair of Nikkei’s Digital Strategy Committee and sits on Nikkei’s Global Investment Committee.
During his tenure the FT has built its reputation for quality global news and analysis and digital transformation. The FT now attracts the largest paying readership in its 129-year history, with two-thirds of its readership now coming from digital channels and a growing presence in video and social media. It has won a series of awards for its strategy and its coverage and is recognised as an industry leader in innovation and communications.

Mr Ridding has been at the FT for 29 years, including leadership roles in editorial, business and at the FT’s former parent company, Pearson, where he was President of Pearson Professional, a division of the global education business. He was a member of Pearson’s executive board, and also served as President of Pearson in Asia, over-seeing the group’s regional education strategy. He launched the Corporate Learning Alliance in partnership with IE of Spain and the FT125, a leadership forum now complemented by a forum for women in business.

Prior to his Pearson role, Mr Ridding was the editor and publisher of the Financial Times in Asia. He led the launch of the FT’s Asia edition in 2003, steering it to a series of commercial and editorial successes. He also led the development of the FT’s Chinese language website, which now has more than 2m users and is the leading international source of business news in China. He launched a number of training and educational initiatives in the region.

During his career at the FT, Mr Ridding has held a variety of senior positions in both editorial and business departments, including deputy editor, managing editor, Asia editor, Paris correspondent and Korea correspondent. Before joining the FT, he worked at Oxford Analytica, heading the economics and Asia Pacific desks.

Rachel Sanderson

Rachel Sanderson

Milan Correspondent
Financial Times

Rachel Sanderson has written about Italian business, finance, fashion, politics and culture for the Financial Times since September 2010. She has broken some of the biggest corporate stories in Italy from LVMH’s buyout of Bulgari to Italy’s multibillion bank bail out plan. She was the first foreign newspaper reporter to interview Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Rachel is an alumna of Reuters and Breakingviews and graduate of Cambridge University.

Gillian Tett

Gillian Tett

Chair, Editorial Board, and Editor-at-large, US
Financial Times

Gillian Tett is Chair, Editorial Board, and Editor-at-large, US at the Financial Times. She previously served as US Managing Editor, leading the Financial Times’ editorial operations in the region across all platforms. She writes weekly columns for the FT, covering a range of economic, financial, political and social issues throughout the globe. Ms Tett served as Assistant Editor, US Managing Editor from 2010 to 2012, and prior to this Assistant Editor responsible for the FT’s markets coverage. Other roles at the FT have included Capital Markets Editor, Deputy Editor of the Lex column, Tokyo Bureau Chief, Tokyo Correspondent, London-based economics reporter and a reporter in Russia and Brussels.

In 2014, she was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards and also received the Royal Anthropological Institute Marsh Award. She is the author of The Silo Effect: Why Putting Everything In Its Place Isn't Such A Bright Idea (Simon & Schuster, 2015), New York Times bestseller Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe (Little Brown, UK and Simon and Schuster, US, 2009), and Saving the Sun: A Wall Street Gamble to Rescue Japan from Its Trillion Dollar Meltdown (Harper Collins, 2003). Before joining the FT in 1993, Ms Tett was awarded a PhD in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, where she also earned her Bachelor’s degree.

Martin Wolf CBE

Martin Wolf CBE

Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator
Financial Times

Martin Wolf is Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 “for services to financial journalism”. He was a member of the UK government’s Independent Commission on Banking between June 2010 and September 2011. Mr Wolf is an honorary fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University and King’s College, London. He is also an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham. In 2014, he was made a University Global Fellow of Columbia University, and a Senior Fellow in Global Economic Policy at its School of International Public Affairs. He is a member of the International Media Council of the World Economic Forum.
Mr Wolf has been included in Foreign Policy’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. He has won the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism, the RTZ David Watt memorial prize, the Journalism Prize of the Fundacio Catalunya Oberta (Open Catalonia Foundation), Commentator of the Year at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards, the “Ludwig-Erhard Preis für Wirtschaftspublizistik” (“Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary”), and “Commentariat of the Year” at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. The Society of American Business Editors and Writers recognised Mr Wolf in its Best in Business Journalism competition. He has also won the Ischia International Journalism Prize and the Overseas Press Club of America’s prize for “best commentary on international news in any medium”.
His most recent publications are Fixing Global Finance (Washington D.C: Johns Hopkins University Press, and London: Yale University Press, 2008 and 2010) and The Shifts and The Shocks: What we’ve learned – and have still to learn – from the financial crisis (London and New York: Allen Lane, 2014). Mr Wolf was educated at Oxford University. He has honorary doctorates from Nottingham University, Kingston University, Macquarie University, the London School of Economics, Warwick University and KU Leuven.


Agenda - 22nd May

  • 6:30pm
    Welcome Reception (Asian Art Museum of San Francisco)

    Hosted by
    John Ridding, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Times Group

    Sponsored by Pond Mobile

    The dress code for the Welcome Reception and Summit plenary sessions is Business Casual. 

Agenda - 23rd May

  • 9:15am
    Opening Keynote Address

    James Curleigh, President, Levi's

    Chaired by Lionel Barber, Editor, Financial Times

  • 10:00am
    The It Girls: Innovation, Intelligence, Big Investment, the Women Changing the Way We Look at Fashion

    A quartet of digital visionaries share their stories, and describe how they exploited the digital market. What can the big luxury brands learn from their data? Where are the next big trends in e-commerce - and how are companies harnessing the power of digital most effectively? How valuable is the authorship of the editorial voice and what advice would they give fellow start ups?

    Lisa Green, Head of Industry, Fashion and Luxury Brands, Google

    Lauren Santo Domingo, Co-founder, Moda Operandi

    Julie Wainwright, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The RealReal

    Emily Weiss, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Glossier

    Moderator: Jo Ellison, Fashion Editor, Financial Times

  • 10:45am
  • 11:10am
    Keynote Address

    Frederic Cumenal, Chief Executive Officer, Tiffany & Co.

    Moderated by Gillian Tett, US Managing Editor, Financial Times

  • 11:40am
    Lessons From Asia: The Rebirth of Tokyo as a Luxury Centre - and What's Happening in China?

    This panel will examine changes in Asia's markets and discuss why Tokyo has re-emerged as one of the key centres of potential growth. Is this to the detriment of China, or is the Mainland responding to different stimuli? What lessons can the West take from the Japanese model? What are the key drivers of digital sales growth? Will robots transform luxury manufacturing as they have other industries, such as automobiles? Discussion will also cover the yen, the value of the Chinese tourist, Japan's manufacturing legacy and the emergence of the Asian art market. 

    Adrian Cheng, Founder of K11 and Executive Director of Chow Tai Fook

    Martin Ford, Author, Rise of the Robots

    Clive Ng, Financier

    Hiroshi Ohnishi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd

    Moderator: Jo Ellison, Fashion Editor, Financial Times

  • 12:25pm
    Who is the New Luxury Consumer?

    The luxury Consumer has evolved since the recession. Their preference for unique experiences is winning over the simple acquisition of luxury goods. How can luxury retailers react to this change and successfully increase their participation within this long lasting trend. MasterCard Advisors will discuss the retail sales evolution and provide actionable insights to benefit those focusing on that special luxury Consumer.

    Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President and Group Head of Market Insights, MasterCard Advisors

    Chaired by Rachel Sanderson, Milan Correspondent, Financial Times

  • 12:45pm
  • 2:00pm
    Redefining Luxury: How Tech is Influencing the Luxury Industry

    Tony Fadell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Nest, SVP, Google

    In conversation with Lionel Barber, Editor, Financial Times

  • 2:30pm
    Architecture: Building and Brand Extension

    How are retail architects responding to the evolving needs of consumers in a digital age? How is the role of the luxury store changing vis a vis brand-building and bottom line? And how is retail architecture adapting in and for emerging markets to reflect the increasing sophistication of consumers?

    Debra Gunn Downing, Executive Director, Marketing, South Coast Plaza

    Simon Rawlings, Creative Director, David Collins Studio

    Ganesh Srivats, Vice President, North America Sales, Tesla

    Daniella Vitale, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, Barneys New York

    Moderator: Beatrice Hodgkin, ‎Deputy Editor, How To Spend It

  • 3:15pm
    Global Fashion & Luxury Market: Deloitte Private Equity and Investors Survey 2016

    Michael Garcia, Advisory Senior Manager, Deloitte

    Chaired by Rachel Sanderson, Milan Correspondent, Financial Times 

  • 3:30pm
  • 4:00pm
    The Future of the Brand

    How are ‘luxury’ brands redefining themselves? How must they engage? And how valuable is the power of personality in this engagement?

    Lisa Marie Fernandez, Founder, Creative Director, Lisa Marie Fernandez

    Jens Grede and Eric Torstensson, Co-founders, Wednesday Agency Group and FRAME

    James Quarles, Global Head of Business and Brand Development, Instagram

    Joseph Sitt, President andChief Executive Officer, Thor Equities

    Moderator: Mimma Viglezio, Management Consultant

  • 4:45pm
    Saint Laurent: The Making of a Superbrand

    The star performer in the Kering portfolio, recently Saint Laurent has seen double digit growth. Saint Laurent chief executive discusses Saint Laurent’s success, the power of creative leadership, the shifting geography of the luxury base, and how the brand has reshaped the market.

    Francesca Bellettini, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Laurent

    In conversation with Jo Ellison, Fashion Editor, Financial Times

  • 5:15pm
  • 6:45pm
    Summit Dinner Reception (The Terrace, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco)

    Dinner dress code: Eveningwear

  • 7:30pm
    Summit Dinner (The Ballroom, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco)

    Hosted by

    John Ridding, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Times Group


    Dinner Speaker

    Michael Evans, President, Alibaba Group

    Chaired by Lionel Barber, Editor, Financial Times

  • 10:15pm
    Summit Dinner After Party (Slide Speakeasy)

    Sponsored by Ethan K

Agenda - 24th May

  • 9:30am
    The Economic Outlook

    This session will discuss prospects for the world economy and global politics, at a time of disturbing uncertainty: monetary policy divergences; the Chinese slowdown; turbulence in financial markets; the collapse in commodity prices; and geopolitical risks, including Brexit. A particular focus of the discussion will be the US economy and the forthcoming presidential election

    Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations, Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

    In conversation with Martin Wolf, CBE, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

  • 10:30am
    Keynote Conversation

    Brunello Cucinelli, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brunello Cucinelli

    In conversation with Rachel Sanderson, Milan Correspondent, Financial Times

  • 11:00am
    Beyond Luxury, the New Frontier

    Industry insiders describe how luxury is evolving beyond the runway to embrace eyewear, shoes and interiors – and how a convergence of Millennial tastes and new technology are driving this change.

    Andrea Bonomi, Founder and Managing Principal, Invest Industrial

    Thomas Chauvet, Head of European Luxury Goods Equity Research, Citi

    Luisa Delgado, Chief Executive Officer, Safilo SpA

    Moderator: Rachel Sanderson, Milan Correspondent, Financial Times

  • 11:45am
  • 12:15pm
    What Does It Mean to Be a Creative Director Today?

    As the creative head of one of America’s foremost and best beloved couture houses, Peter Copping discusses the responsibilities, challenges and joys of the modern luxury atelier.

    Peter Copping, Creative Director, Oscar de la Renta

    In conversation with Jo Ellison, Fashion Editor, Financial Times

  • 12:45pm
    New Luxury Narratives - New Markets, New Ideas, New Media

    A panel discussion with some of the most dynamic leaders in luxury about changes in retail, distribution and dna. What are the key areas of category growth and distribution? Where is digital growth most relevant, and what is it worth? Where are the key shifts in manufacture and how are brands responding to the culture of “see now, buy now”?

    Rodrigo Bazan, Chief Executive Officer, Thom Browne

    Philipp Gajzer, Managing Director Move Now Luxury Brokers & Advisors / Managing Director Move Now Commercial Brokers

    Victor Luis, Chief Executive Officer, Coach, Inc.

    Paolo Riva, Chief Executive Officer, Diane von Furstenberg Studio LLC

    Moderator: Jo Ellison, Fashion Editor, Financial Times

  • 1:45pm
    Close & Lunch

Who attends?

The FT Business of Luxury Summit attracts senior luxury sector executives, corporate decision-makers and financiers from around the world including Chairmen, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CTOs, Presidents and Managing Directors from the following industries:

  • Fashion
  • Retail
  • Jewellery
  • Motor
  • Yacht Manufacturing
  • Watches
  • Technology Companies
  • Private Equity
  • Investment Banking
  • Private Banking
  • Investment / Asset Management
  • Architecture / Construction
  • Luxury Hotels
  • Luxury Residential Property
  • Auctioneering
  • Yacht Broking
  • Arts
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Film
  • Shopping Malls
  • Advertising / Marketing
  • Design Consultancies

Conference Room


Why Sponsor

Affiliate with the Financial Times and the premier business event in the calendar for senior executives in the global luxury sector, positioning your brand alongside it. The FT runs many ads (on average we tend to run 40+ ads each year), promoting the summit, all carrying sponsor branding, which also appears on all direct-mail campaigns and other marketing material. Advertisements for the event also appear on and in media partner publications which have included FT Deutschland, Nikkei, Women’s Wear Daily, Les Echos, Monocle and Vogue as well as many regional newspapers and business magazines.

A rare opportunity to meet, influence and network with an exclusive audience of 400+ C-level and other senior executives in the global luxury goods and services market, who, with access to millions of their own high net worth customers could be future marketing partners or collaborators for any company also targeting this elusive affluent group. For suppliers of products and services to the luxury sector, we offer you a highly targeted audience of business decision-makers.

All delegates are high net worth individuals themselves, who travel in luxury and buy luxury goods and services. They are also important opinion leaders on what’s new in luxury and are highly influential.

Have your own advertisement in the Business of Luxury special report, published worldwide on the first day of the summit, and influence the 1.5 million high net worth readers of the FT, including many of the luxury sector decision-makers who are not able to attend the summit*

* Silver – Diamond packages only

For more information, please contact:

Craig Bethell
Tel: +44 (0) 207 873 4110


In association with (1)

Michel Dyens & Co. is a leading independent investment banking firm focused on mergers and acquisitions in luxury, beauty, spirits and premium branded consumer goods. With headquarters in New York and Paris, Michel Dyens & Co. has closed numerous landmark deals in luxury and premium brands. Michel Dyens & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor in such luxury goods deals as the ultra-premium Grey Goose vodka brand in the sale to Bacardi, the iconic American high jewelry brand Harry Winston in the sale to Aber Diamond Corporation, Boucheron to Kering and the haute horlogerie watch brand Hublot to LVMH.

Among other transactions, Michel Dyens & Co. has recently closed the deal in whichthe ultra-luxury fragrance brand By Kilian was sold to Estée Lauder; an interest in the Korean skincare brand Dr. Jart+ was bought by Estée Lauder; the largest independent hair color and hair care company in Brazil, Niely Cosmeticos, sold to L’Oréal; and the luxury furniture and interior architecture brand Liaigre was sold to Symphony International, a London-listed, investment company.

Other transactions include the sale of John Frieda Professional Hair Care and Molton Brown, the luxury bath and body products maker, when each was acquired by Kao Corporation of Japan, and the ultra-premium luxury liqueur St. Germain in the sale of the brand to Bacardi.

Diamond sponsor (1)

Move Now Luxury Brokers & Advisors deliver custom made transaction services for luxury retail real estate on three continents.
Wir realisieren selbst für komplexeste Anforderungen bei Transaktionen von Miet- und Kaufverträgen in Retail-Luxuslagen passgenaue Ergebnisse auf drei Kontinenten.
Nous proposons un service personnalisé pour les transactions immobilières commerciales de luxe sur trois continents.
Forniamo servizi personalizzati per transazioni immobiliari per il luxury retail in tre continenti. 
Мы предоставляем персональные услуги по сделкам с элитной недвижимостью на трех континентах. 

Platinum sponsors (2)

MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard, provides clients around the world with insights and solutions that drive business impact and ROI. The company uses advanced analytics and deep payments expertise to translate data into actionable behavioral insights and customized services. With analyses based on more than 80 billion anonymous transactions processed in 210 countries worldwide, the company leverages aggregated information and a consultative approach to help financial institutions, merchants, media companies, governments and other organizations grow their businesses.

Thor Equities – a leader in urban real estate development leasing, and management – is actively pursuing premier retail and mixed-use assets located in high-density areas. Thor Equities’ current portfolio of assets represents some of the best “High Street” retail and mixed-use properties in global gateway cities across the United States, Europe and Latin America. A renowned real estate development and investment firm based in New York City, Thor Equities specializes in revitalizing retail and mixed-use properties in the interest of delivering optimum results to investors. Our strategy focuses on acquiring luxury mixed-use assets and underperforming developments in vibrant markets with a strong retail component. With an interdisciplinary approach, we converge on newly acquired properties with our teams of asset management, leasing, development and transactional professionals to create real estate opportunities and solutions.

Gold sponsor (1)

Deloitte is one of the world’s leading professional services organisations with approximately 245,000 professionals in more than 150 countries and territories. Deloitte’s deep understanding of the issues and trends affecting retail businesses enable us to provide fully integrated and sector-focused teams working across audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services. Deloitte is at the forefront of providing solutions that maximise value for our clients to ensure competitive advantage enabling them to make informed and effective decisions.

Supporting Sponsors (4)

Since 1984, Barack Ferrazzano has been a trusted legal advisor to some of the most respected and iconic luxury goods companies in the world. When strategy is crucial and timing is everything, you need an experienced legal partner who understands your objectives and your business, and who can navigate you through the unique demands of the luxury industry.

F2B Services is a global interactive technology company that designs unique visual immersive experiences that propel your events, corporate meeting centres and boardrooms to the next level.  Our solutions fully engage the customer to interact with your vision, message, and products.  F2B provides comprehensive “white glove” service and support to fulfill all of your needs, from concept design of the hardware to custom software creation to media and technical support to on-site event management. F2B has had the honour of supplying visual solutions for some of the biggest names in the luxury industry. To learn more about how F2B Services can bring your products to life, find us at

Martens & Heads! is a boutique executive search firm designed to fulfill the domestic and international needs of image-driven brands in the fashion, luxury, retail, and beauty industries. Using our Search With Imagination approach we partner with clients to find brand-transforming leaders in all functions that influence their customers’ experience.

Mattec Interiors is a company specialized in retail design projects and their realization, with a typical Italian approach based on a wide know-how. Mattec combines design and manufacturing excellence with a total control over logistics and installation operations anywhere in the world. With the same attention and high product quality, the company handles the installation of single stores, roll-out projects, shop-in-shop, corners, flagship stores and outlets.  To bring ideas to reality, Mattec supports designers in their search for solutions concerning the feasibility of new retail concepts and works closely with them throughout the entire creative process.

Welcome Reception Sponsor (1)

Pond Mobile is the first luxury mobile operator to offer worldwide service based on fixed monthly tariff plans. It includes the option to have local numbers in up to 90 countries, including your existing numbers. Services are provided over the leading global GSM networks and do not rely on VOIP or Callback. The “World Phone” tariffs offer comprehensive coverage, allowing users to travel freely without having to worry about roaming charges, or that they’ll be out of touch! Pond Mobile – 1 phone, 1 plan, 1 predictable bill, and 1 personal support manager. Stay Local, Stay Connected with Pond Mobile.

Supporting Partners (5)

Forbes Media LATAM editions (Forbes Mexico, Forbes Central America, Forbes Life and Forbes Life Travel) focuses in a new way to tell stories, share experiences and –best– impact the most influential communities in Latin America. Welcome to the Trans Media concept of the most inspiring publishing house in the region, welcome to the Forbes Media world.

Jing Daily is the leading digital publication on luxury consumer trends in China.  Professionals seeking to understand China’s complex and rapidly evolving luxury industry look to Jing Daily for fresh and accurate insights. We publish up-to-the-minute news updates, reports on key trends, insights from leading industry figures, and in-depth analysis on this vitally important market.

Luxury Daily is the world's leading luxury business publication covering the marketing, retail, media and digital efforts of luxury brands and retailers, as well as geopolitical issues that shape demand and supply. The title is supported by several industry-leading summits including Luxury FirstLook in January, Women in Luxury in May, and Luxury Roundtable and the Luxury Retail Summit in the second half of the year. Based in New York, Luxury Daily is read worldwide by decision makers from luxury brands, luxury retailers, ad agencies, publishers, analyst firms and service providers.

A unique membership association of 200 of Britain’s finest luxury brands, Walpole promotes, protects and develops the qualities of UK luxury: the long tradition, rich heritage, superior craftsmanship, innovation, design, style, and impeccable service at the heart of the industry – currently worth over £32 billion to the UK economy and a leading creator of jobs. Dedicated to nurturing the next generation of luxury brands, craftspeople and leaders, Walpole connects Britain’s best up-and-coming talent with a network of senior mentors from within the established membership. Its programme of events, thought leadership activities and political and media engagement furthers the collective interests of Walpole’s members, ensuring the continued and future success of British luxury on an international stage.


The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
600 Stockton at California
San Francisco CA 94108
Tel: +1 415 296 7465



Financial Times has arranged very special rates for Summit attendees at the following hotels:

The Scarlet Huntington

1075 California Street San Francisco, CA 94108 (5 minute walk to the Ritz-Carlton on a slight slope)

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$415 Deluxe or Executive room

Other room categories are available upon request. Rates are available for the nights of 22 and 23 May, and the shoulder nights of 21, 24 and 25 May (subject to availability). Rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes (currently 14% room tax and 2.25% tourism assessment fee) in effect at the time of check in.

To book, please contact Angeline Nouhoumon, quoting 'Financial Times Group':

T: +1 415 345 2818

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco (the host hotel)

Note: rooms are almost sold out at the Ritz-Carlton.

$424 Deluxe room

$540 One bedroom suite

Other room categories are available upon request. Rates are available for the nights of 22 and 23 May, and the shoulder nights of 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 26 May (subject to availability).

Rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes (currently 14% room tax and 2.25% tourism assessment fee) in effect at the time of check in.

Please book via this dedicated link 

If you prefer to make your reservation via phone, please ring the dedicated group desk on +1 877 266 2050. Phone lines are open from 8am - midnight local time (UTC-7).

Please reference the group name Financial Times when making reservations.

Note that at this stage rooms and rates are subject to availability..

Accommodation queries
For any accommodation queries, please contact:

Steve Kondrick
Group Reservations Coordinator
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
Direct tel: +1 415 296 2344
Tel:+1 415 296 7465
Fax +1 415 986 1268

Click here for a map of the key Summit venues




San Francisco is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California, United States.

Which is the nearest airport?

San Francisco International Airport is the nearest airport, at approx 24km (15 miles) / 26 minute drive to the Ritz-Carlton.

Oakland International Airport is approx 32km (20 miles) / 50 minute drive to the Ritz-Carlton.

What is the weather like in May in San Francisco?

San Francisco's climate is characteristic of the cool-summer Mediterranean climate of California’s coast and is generalised as having moist mild winters and dry summers. San Francisco's weather is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the city, and the water of San Francisco Bay to the north and east. Being surrounded by water moderates temperature swings and produces a remarkably mild year-round climate with little seasonal temperature variation. The average temperature in May is a high 17.9°C (64.3°F) and a low of 10.6°C (51°F).

Do I need a visa to travel to the United States?

Yes, a visa is required for international travelers to the United States. Further details can be found at:

Which hotel should I stay in?

Financial Times has arranged very special rates for Summit attendees at the following hotels:

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco (the host hotel)

The Scarlet Huntington and Nob Hill Spa (5 minute walk to the Ritz-Carlton on a slight slope)

Details are on our Accommodation page.  A map of key Summit venues can be found here.

Is transportation provided?

You are responsible for your own flights and airport transfers to/from San Francisco.

During the Summit, we will provide the following transportation via fully escorted buses:

Sunday 22 May – Welcome Reception

From the Ritz-Carlton to the Asian Art Museum

From the Scarlet Huntington to the Asian Art Museum

At the end of the Reception we will provide return transportation back to the Ritz-Carlton and Scarlet Huntington.

Monday 23 May – After Party

From the Ritz-Carlton to Slide Speakeasy and back to the Ritz-Carlton and Scarlet Huntington.

Alternatively, Slide is about a 10 minute walk from/to the Ritz-Carlton but note the steep hills.

How do I book airport transfers or other transportation services in San Francisco?

We recommend that you pre-arrange your airport transfers with your hotel. Below please find information on how to do so at the following hotels:

The Ritz-Carlton
T: +1 415 296 7465

The Scarlet Huntington
T: +1 415 345 2841

Car Parking

Should you need a car parking space in San Francisco, please contact your hotel.

The Ritz-Carlton: Daily valet parking is available at a rate of $64 per night plus taxes. There is no need to pre- book.

The Scarlet Huntington: Daily parking is available at a rate of $50 per night plus taxes, at the Charles Crocker car park next door. There is no need to pre-book.

What is the dress code?

Sunday 22 May
Welcome Reception – Business Casual

Monday 23 May
Summit – Business
Gala Reception, Dinner & After Party – Eveningwear

Tuesday 9 May
Summit – Business

Are meals included?

The following meals/refreshments are included:

Sunday 22 May
Welcome Reception – canapés, champagne, wine and soft drinks

Monday 23 May
Summit – buffet continental breakfast, morning coffee, buffet lunch, afternoon coffee
Gala Reception & Dinner – canapés, champagne, wine, soft drinks, plated dinner
After Party – light snacks, champagne, wine, soft drinks

Tuesday 24 May
Summit – buffet continental breakfast, morning coffee, buffet lunch

Can I bring my partner/spouse?

While you certainly may bring your partner/spouse, he/she will need to be registered and have paid for the Summit in order to attend any part of the Summit.

What language are the event sessions in?

The majority of Summit sessions and materials will be in English; simultaneous translation will be provided into English for one or two sessions that will be in Japanese and Italian.

What currency should I bring?

The official currency of the United States is the $US dollar. Major credit cards are readily acceptable. It is recommended that you call your credit card companies in advance to advise them that you will be travelling in the United States.


Contact Us

Funmbi Adenubi
Delegate Booking and Registration Enquiries
Financial Times
Craig Bethell
Sponsorship Opportunities
Financial Times
Diana Whittington
Special Projects Director (Speakers)
Financial Times
Gareth Pike
Media Partner and Press Enquiries
Financial Times