By David Gill
SADDLE BROOK, N.J.–The new management team at De’Longhi USA has declared itself ready to tackle the challenges of growing the U.S. arm of the Italy-based housewares manufacturer.
In December, the company said Alvise Ricoveri, who had been executive vice president of sales and marketing, would become its managing director on Jan. 1. Jim McCusker, who has served as president of the U.S. unit since he started it in 1980, will retire from this role after the International Home & Housewares Show—but will stay on in an advisory capacity through the end of this year.
The new leadership also includes Francesco de Flaviis, who became director of marketing earlier this year; and Lori Tremer-Huey, who has become chief financial officer.
The team’s first major move will be the formulation of a new brand message for De’Longhi in North America, which will be formally introduced at the Housewares Show next week. While its final shape has yet to be determined, the executives provided details during a recent interview with HFN.
Noting that De’Longhi’s name isn’t associated with any one product category—unlike Cuisinart with blenders and KitchenAid with stand mixers—Ricoveri said, “The message will communicate the values of De’Longhi no matter what the product is. De’Longhi is still De’Longhi, but the message will be fresher for North America.”
De Flaviis said the creation of the new message “is an opportunity for us to tighten the image of De’Longhi. We still have the same core and the same soul. The new message will simplify what we have always stressed as the five pillars of De’Longhi, which are our Italian heritage, manufacturing, design, innovation and quality.”
The new message will be the centerpiece of De’Longhi’s exhibitor space at the Housewares Show, and will be the main point behind new trade advertising for the company, which will also debut next week.
McCusker described the transition from his leadership to the team led by Ricoveri as “another great moment for the company.” McCusker started the U.S. unit in 1980 when he began selling De’Longhi oil-filled radiators to U.S. retail accounts, which at the time had never heard of the company.
“You’re seeing a beautiful transition here,” McCusker said. “In our industry, it’s hard to find an executive who has led a team for 28 years, and that says a lot about the De’Longhi parent company. It’s noteworthy for the industry.”
During McCusker’s tenure, De’Longhi USA’s product line expanded from radiators into toaster ovens, home-comfort products and coffeemakers. While the company was successful in entering these categories, de Flaviis said the evolution of the product line made it hard to find one brand message for the company.
“We have also been tied to the global De’Longhi brand message, but with the new message, we’ll offer something localized to North America,” de Flaviis said.
Looking ahead to the next few years, Ricoveri said he doesn’t see De’Longhi USA entering new product categories, but the company is gearing up for strong sales growth. “We have a three-year plan that calls for us to grow by double digits over the course of those three years,” Ricoveri said. “I do see us expanding products within our existing categories. Our distribution base is really good, and I see us improving our relationships with our retail partners.”