German designer Tomas Maier is stepping down as creative director of Italian leather goods fashion house Bottega Veneta, its owner, luxury group Kering, said on Wednesday.
Kering offered no explanation for Maier’s departure and said that his successor would be announced soon.
Bottega Veneta’s sales surged after Maier arrived in 2001 as he breathed new life into the brand, but they have flagged in recent years because of markdowns and weaker Chinese demand.
Sales stabilised last year after Kering brought in former Hugo Boss chief executive Claus-Dietrich Lahrs to put the brand back on track.
The house has been bringing in new handbag designs, responding to criticism from some analysts that it has been a one-product brand for too many years, and relying heavily on its woven-leather technique called intrecciato.
“It’s largely due to Tomas’s high-level creative demands that Bottega Veneta became the House it is today,” Kering chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault said.
“He put it back on the luxury scene and made it an undisputed reference.”
Saint Laurent overtook Bottega Veneta last year as Kering’s second-biggest source of revenue.
Gucci is by far the group’s biggest earner.