Eataly, the operator of massive Italian food halls and marketplaces, has named its first CEO for North America as it plans to more than triple its footprint on the continent in the next five years.
Tommaso Brusò joins Eataly after more than 15 years in the fashion industry. He was most recently group CEO of Copenhagen-based clothing brand Colorful Standard. Before that, he was global COO of fashion brand Benneton Group; CEO of Diesel North America; CEO and president of Furla North America; and CEO of Fedon U.S.
He will be responsible for guiding Eataly as it plans to open 20 North American stores over the next five years, including five in the next two years. It currently has nine locations on the continent, in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Silicon Valley and Toronto. It has another 38 stores around the world.
“Given our significant growth ambitions in North America, the CEO North America position is a newly created role,” said Eataly CEO Andrea Cipolloni in a statement. “Tommaso arrives at an important time for the Group and will be instrumental to the development and growth of a market of primary importance for Eataly.”
Brusò in a statement said that he has become a big fan of the brand while living in New York City, where Eataly has two locations. He also said his background in fashion should translate well to food.
“Food together with fashion are globally recognized as Italian excellences,” he said in a statement. “I believe that my significant experience in the fashion industry will make a strong contribution to taking the Eataly brand to the next level.”
U.K.-based investment firm Investindustrial VII LP acquired Eataly a year ago for nearly $200 million, saying at the time it planned to grow the concept.
Eataly’s sprawling locations house food halls, grocery stores and other vendors and also host classes and private events. Businessman Oscar Farinetti came up with the idea in 2002, envisioning a “multifunctional” marketplace focused on the food and culture of Italy. The first store opened five years later, in a former vermouth factory in Torino, Italy. The first U.S. outlet opened in 2010 in a 50,000-square-foot space in New York’s Flatiron district.
This story originally appeared in WGB sister publication Restaurant Business Online.