Highland’s Woes

Management Moves


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This article was prepared for the December 19, 2001 edition of

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Longchamp Expands

She loves to shop, she has been a fashion plate since

high school, and she owns at least 20 handbags, maybe more. For Marti

Carroll, above, her position as CEO of Longchamp USA — the


accessories manufacturer — is a dream job.

Carroll has moved Longchamp USA from 7,000 square feet in four


warehouses on South Gold Drive to 35,200 feet on Route 130 North in

Yardville and has a new phone and fax. At this location she has 13

to 18 workers plus four regional managers and two independent sales


Founded in the 1940s, Longchamp is a family firm known for upscale

leather accessories that are manufactured in Segre, outside of Paris.

"Longchamp is a great company — the family is just really

wonderful," she says. "They are very smart, very warm people.

They let me run my own operation here."

Surely someone who works for Longchamp has a handbag fetish. "I

have been in the industry a long time, and I must own 20 handbags,

maybe more," she admits. "I usually like large bags even


I am rather petite, and contrary to what most people prefer, I like

an open top rather than a zip top."

Handbags comprise 80 percent of her business, but Longchamp also


three collections of luggage, plus scarves, ties, and some jewelry.

Though she presents 15 new collections a year, the core of the


business is in five collections: tumbled calfskin, nature (simple

classic lines with no hardware), Roseau (with bamboo hardware), Pliage

(folding bags) and Planete (a dressier version of the folding bags,

trimmed in same color leather).

Carroll grew up near Norristown, Pennsylvania, where her father was

an engineer and her mother taught home economics. She graduated from

Penn State in 1967 with a degree in fashion merchandising, and is

therefore one of those unusual people that actually graduated in the

field they end up in. She had a traditional retail career, rising

to group vice president of the Federated chain before joining the

French firm in 1995. She and her husband, a civil engineer for


Engineering, live in Washington Crossing, and their newly married

son works for Intel.

Carroll’s success, she believes, is keyed to her protecting the brand

image. Her limited distribution policy runs counter to the strategy

of the Gucci and Fendi brands, which can be found on nearly every

department store shelf. She limits distribution to Longchamp boutiques

in New York, Boston, and Palm Beach and to upscale department stores

such as Saks and Nordstrom’s. A select number of independent


such as Luttman’s, the family-owned leather store on Witherspoon


are also allowed to carry the Longchamp line. And no, she does not

run warehouse sales.

"I also increased our national advertising very dramatically,

I felt it was key to building our brand identity." She does not

have an ad agency; the ads come from the Paris headquarters. Her


Elle, Harpers Bazaar, In Style, Town and Country, New York Times.

She has also placed her product in movies such as "Stepmom"

and the new "Vanilla Sky." "Michael J. Fox was just in

the store purchasing Christmas presents," she says, "and has

allowed us to use his name."

Though Carroll says she owns "some Armani," dress at Longchamp

is business casual. Another welcome change from retailing is her


Retail employees notoriously have to work nights and weekends, so

a nine to five job seems like heaven. "I have been known to come

in here on a Sunday," she says, "but these are great


Longchamp USA, 435A Route 130 North, Yardville

08620. Marti Carroll, CEO. 609-581-5555; fax, 609-581-5559. Home

page: www.longchamp.com

Top Of Page
Highland’s Woes

Highland Insurance, based on Lenox Drive, is in such

financial difficulties that trading on its stock was halted on



Formerly known as American Reinsurance, the company is selling off

the less profitable parts of its business. On December 14 it sold

servicing rights to 5,200 flood insurance policies, representing $2.1

million in premiums, to Selective Insurance Group, based in


Two top officers have left. John W. Cowley was promoted to CEO and

Stephen L. Kibblehouse to president and COO, with Albert J. Marino

as CFO and treasurer. The company’s net loss was $65 million for the

first three quarters of this year.

Highlands Insurance Group (HIC), 1000 Lenox Drive,

Box 6426, Lawrenceville 08648-6426. John W. Cowley, CEO. 609-896-1921;

fax, 609-219-1774. Www.highlandsinsurance.com

Top Of Page
Management Moves

Broadbeam Corp., 100 College Road West, Suite 110,

Princeton 08540-5052. Janet L. Boudris, CEO. 609-734-0300; fax,



Janet L. Boudris, former vice president of Cingular Wireless, has

replaced Sri Sridharan at the top of the team for Broadbeam, the


platform provider. Founder Boris Fridman remains as board chairman

of the company, formerly known as Nettech Systems.

Princeton eCom Corporation, 650 College Road East,

Princeton 08540. 609-606-3000; fax, 609-606-3297.


Princeton eCom, a provider of electronic billing and payment services,

announced the resignation of Curtis R. Welling as chief executive

officer and the appointment of Craig Kirsch as interim chief executive

officer. It has also just received $13 million in private equity


Top Of Page

Universal Display Corporation (PANL), 375 Phillips

Boulevard, Ewing 08618. Steven Abramson, president. 609-671-0980;

fax, 609-671-0995. Www.universaldisplay.com

Universal Display Corporation did not sign a joint venture agreement

with Sanyo and Kodak as reported in the December 12 issue. Instead

an official from UDC merely commented on how the Sanyo/Kodak agreement

bodes well for the organic light emitting devices (OLED) industry.

UDL has, nevertheless, signed an agreement with Sony Corporation and

Samsung SDI to develop next generation display technologies.

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