Andrea Baldo is a distinguished leader in fashion, luxury goods and retail, bringing over 20 years of transformative and innovative experience in the industry. He is passionate in supporting creative talents and cultivating high-performing teams, building flourishing company cultures that enables talent to excel. Andrea currently serves at the Chief Executive Officer of Ganni, an L Catterton backed business, where he champions the brand’s mission of redefining fashion with a focus on community building and sustainability. Before joining Ganni, he successfully navigated significant leadership positions across organisations such as Diesel and Marni. He also contributes as a lecturer at IESE Business School, sharing his knowledge in strategic management within the fashion and luxury goods industry. His multifaceted expertise and success position him as a visionary trailblazer and a true example of transformative leadership in the industry.
What does good leadership mean to you?
For me, a good leader isn’t just someone with a vision and clear objectives; they’re the driving force that brings out the best in their executive team. They empower their team to achieve those objectives, creating an environment where everyone thrives.
What is the best example you have seen of Transformational Leadership?
All leaders, in their own ways, transform the path companies achieve their goals and impact the company culture. However, there are exceptional cases like Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997, Reed Hastings’ shift of Netflix’s business model in 2007, or Hubert Joly’s reinvention of Best Buy in 2012. These leaders ushered in transformative changes that left a lasting mark beyond their industry.
What is the most important thing you have learned in your career so far?
It’s challenging to distill all the lessons, but a few stand out: 1) The right strategy coupled with the right team yields remarkable results. 2) The magnitude of success often hinges on external factors beyond a CEO’s control. 3) What works in one situation won’t necessarily work in another; adaptability and continuous learning are crucial.
How did you get to where you are today? Did you take a strategic, planned approach to your career or has it been more opportunistic?
Interestingly, my journey began with a plan. I met my first boss, the CEO of OTB group, with a 10-year plan to become a General Manager. Over 12 years and various roles across different countries, I eventually became the General Manager of Marni. While it meant leaving OTB, a company I cherished, it allowed me to evolve as a leader, eventually leading to my role at a change-making fashion brand like GANNI.
Is there anything you wish you’d known when you started your career? And anything you would tell yourself at an earlier stage in your career?
I wish I’d realized earlier the importance of navigating corporate politics. Developing political skills can be vital for executing business strategies. I’d also advise my younger self to make tough decisions on teams and personnel sooner, rather than overestimating my ability to nurture everyone. Sometimes change is the best solution for all.
What fascinates you about your job?
The fashion and luxury industry fascinate me because it’s where creativity transforms into an economic force, sustaining brand success for years. I get to work with brilliant creative and managerial talents, helping them reach their full potential and achieve their aspirations.
As a leader, what skills do you continuously work on to keep you at the top of your game?
I continually work on myself, especially in handling pressure and adapting my leadership style to connect with new generations of creatives and managers. My family and executive team have been patient and instrumental in this journey.
What’s your next big objective?
Tackling climate change systematically is my foremost goal. It’s imperative for CEOs to lead the transformation of business models toward responsibility and sustainability. My most ambitious objective is to cut our brand’s carbon emissions in half by 2027 while growing the business.
What is the best way to switch off in your free time?
I don’t strictly differentiate between free time and work time; it’s all one life with infinite trade-offs. Nonetheless, recharging is essential. Meditation, spending time with family help me recharge during the week, while revisiting my roots, like my hometown and old friends, reenergize me for months to come.