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Ralph Lauren taps Vice Media's Jonathan Bottomley as first CMO

Bottomley will be Ralph Lauren's first CMO in the brand's 50-year history

Ralph Lauren has solidified its leadership team by appointing Vice Media's Jonathan Bottomley as chief marketing officer, marking the first time anyone has held the role in the brand's 50-year history.

The news comes just weeks after the unexpected resignation of outgoing chief executive Stefan Larsson, and will help the bring cohesion to the brand's global marketing efforts.

​The luxury brand said in an announcement that Bottomley would be responsible for "evolving Ralph Lauren’s brand voice, leading the global marketing team and building cut-through marketing strategies across the company’s brands."

Bottomley was most recently chief strategy officer at Vice Media's content division Virtue, prior to which he held senior strategy roles at BBH London.

Ralph Lauren is known for developing creative in-house but the new hire signals that the company may be ready to work with agenciesto offset a drop in sales and fight off growing competition from fast-fashion retailers. Bottomley leaves Vice's Virtue agency after just four months in the job, but his insight into the publishing world is also likely to come in handy in honing Ralph Lauren's content marketing strategy. Just last week, the brand posted a job listing for a new content marketing manager to work out of its New York headquarters.

The company has also tapped Tom Ford's longstanding chief operating officer Tom Mendenhall as brand president for its men’s Polo, Purple Label and Double R brands. In this newly created role, all men’s brand functions will report into him, including design and merchandising, and he will be charged with strengthening these labels to improve sales.

The brand's third quarter results, which were released in January, revealed a year-on-year revenue decline of 12%, with net income for the quarter coming in at $82m or 37% below last year's earnings.

Founder Ralph Lauren said of the hires: "As we write our next chapter, we continue to add exceptionally strong leaders with the passion, energy, and talent to lead our company into the future.

"Both Bottomley and Mendenhall bring a fresh perspective and incredible depth of brand experience to Ralph Lauren. They each have impressive track records and we are looking forward to welcoming them into our leadership as our evolution continues."

The appointments are part of the brand's 'Way Forward' initiative, which was introduced by Larsson last June to strengthen the leadership team and refocus on the company's core brands.

The fashion house is still looking to appoint a new chief executive ahead of Larsson's departure in May. The boss is leaving due to differences with Lauren over the creative direction of the company.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is The Drum's breaking news and social media reporter, covering how brands and media companies are using platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and beyond.

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