MILAN — Shahzad Akhtar has been named group chief executive officer of Alsara Strategic Investments. This is a new position at the company, and points to an increased focus on brand building and merger and acquisition activities.
Alsara Strategic Investments includes brands Akoni, which produces eyewear for Valentino and Balmain; cool Italian label Khrisjoy; investor Bidayat; design venture Fromm; jewelry brand Azza Fahmy; Egypt-based handbags label Okhtei, and Flyroom. Alsara is also gearing up to revive the Walter Albini brand, one of the founders of Italy’s ready-to-wear. 10 Corso Como founder Carla Sozzani is working on an exhibition dedicated to Albini, who died in 1983, and former Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele is said to be preparing to helm the brand.
Alsara founder and chairman Rachid Mohamed Rachid touted Akhtar’s “considerable experience in brand building and leading businesses,” which will allow him “to work with the brand teams to drive an ambitious agenda on the existing portfolio of brands and lay the foundations for further acquisitions.”
The company is leveraging Akhtar’s expertise in marketing, and global strategy and his track record of delivering growth. Akhtar completed his MBA at INSEAD in France. He started his career as a consultant with Accenture and rose through global commercial organizations such as Unilever and Whirlpool, then advising senior leaders at global companies.
“Alsara offers an exciting opportunity to build the next generation of luxury brands on the pillars of talent, great products and innovation,” said Akhtar.
Alsara Investment Group is an international private investment company based in Switzerland. In 2021 it bought a majority stake in Italian brand Khrisjoy with a view to expanding its global reach, product offer and digital capabilities. Positioned in the luxury range of the market and made in Italy, the brand has garnered a cult following with its Khris cocooning hooded puffer jacket.
Rachid is also the chairman of Valentino and CEO of the brand’s parent company Mayhoola, which also owns Balmain and Italian men’s wear brand Pal Zileri. Earlier in his career, he served as Egypt’s minister of trade, industry and investment, and was an executive at Unilever.
As reported, Cairo-based jeweler Azza Fahmy is planning an upscaling and international expansion drive — including an eventual push into the U.S. — following an investment from Bidayat, a subsidiary of the Alsara Investment Group.