Patrizio di Marco and his partner, the brand’s creative director, Frida Giannini

There has been speculation for a year but it has now been confirmed that Gucci’s chief executive Patrizio di Marco and his partner, the brand’s creative director, Frida Giannini, have left the company.

Patrizio di Marco and Frida Giannini have left Italian luxury goods brand Gucci, which is part of the French group Kering, after failing to stem falling sales. According to reports in the Financial Times, Gucci’s sales fell to €851m (Dhs3.9bn) between July and the end of September, a 1.9 per cent drop compared with the same period a year ago.

Marco will leave on January 1 after 13 years working with Kering while Giannini will step down at the end of February, after presenting the brand’s autumn/winter 2015-16 collection. She has worked with Kering for more than 12 years.

“Gucci is one the most prominent luxury mega-brands. It will benefit from new ideas and fresh energy,” said Luca Solca, managing director at Exane BNP Paribas. “The key to stay relevant in luxury goods is continuing reinvention.”

Former head of Bottega Veneta, Marco Bizzarri, will replace Marco. A replacement for Giannini is yet to be decided, with sources claiming the news will be shared in the new year. Solca said of appointing Bizzarri: “[He is] a proven team builder and a very good manager. With Bizzarri, we also see low risk of a ‘kitchen sink’ brand reset.”

While it is a very drastic business decision, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, was quick to point out that while Marco and Giannini are leaving their hard work has not gone unnoticed. He said: “I truly enjoyed working with Patrizio over those years. The great performances achieved by the Gucci brand during his tenure stand as a testament to his success. His strategic vision, passion, dedication and charisma were key to bring Gucci where it is today. I want to warmly thank him and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”

He said of Giannini: “I would like to thank Frida for her extraordinary passion, dedication and contribution to the Gucci brand. She has been the sole creative director of Gucci for close to a decade. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering the level and breadth of responsibility of overviewing all the aspects related to product and image for such a global brand during such a long period of time. I am truly grateful to her for her achievements, creativity and the passion that she has always instilled in her work.”