Industry veteran Leslie Russo is joining IMG as SVP of global sales and brand management for its fashion business, The Daily Front Row has exclusively learned. In her new role role, she will be responsible for the company’s fashion partnerships and sales globally, working closely with IMG (and WME) on innovative platforms and marketing solutions.
Russo started her career at Andy Warhol’s Interview in the late ’90s and went on to spend 15 years at Condé Nast, overseeing a rotating stable of brands including Glamour, Details, W, and Brides. While at Condé, she was responsible for managing and creating brand platforms, editorial franchises, branded content, experiential marketing, and digital innovations for the brands and their blue-chip advertising clients. Most recently, Russo served as a consultant for start-ups as well as mature businesses, including Harper’s Bazaar, Man of the World, No. One White Street, and WhoSay.
“Leslie has an impressive track record creating industry-leading content and partnerships for brands,” Catherine Bennett, SVP and managing director at IMG Fashion Events and Properties, told The Daily Front Row. “This is an exciting time for our fashion business, and Leslie’s expertise and thoughtful approach will help us build unique, authentic programs for our partners global. We’re thrilled to have her on board.”
Russo’s hire comes at a key moment for IMG as they look for a new home for New York Fashion Week after parting ways with Lincoln Center last month. Longtime event sponsor Mercedes-Benz is not returning as the title sponsor in September. IMG also recently acquired downtown fashion week show hub MADE, which hasn’t charged designers to show in the past. In the acquisition, confirmed Monday, MADE will remain a separate entity but still utilize WME/IMG connections for designers and partners.
IMG’s fashion business includes more than 32 fashion events globally, including Fashion Weeks in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Sydney and Miami; as well as World MasterCard Fashion Week Canada; IMG Models, the agency that reps the likes of Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, and Gisele Bündchen, and has locations in New York, Paris, London, Milan, and Sydney; and Art + Commerce, a global agency representing image-makers in the creative industry, including Steven Meisel, Craig McDean, and Patrick Demarchelier.
Russo began her new role yesterday.