Clothing company Liz Claiborne Inc has hired Craig Leavitt, the former president of global retail at Link Theory Holdings, as co-president and chief operating officer of its Kate Spade unit.

Joining the company in mid-April, Mr Leavitt will partner with co-president and creative director Deborah Lloyd on the management and overall leadership of the Kate Spade brand.

Both Mr Leavitt and Ms Lloyd will report to William L McComb, chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne Inc.

At Link Theory Holdings, Mr Leavitt had total responsibility for merchandising, operations, planning and allocation and real estate for the Theory and Helmut Lang retail businesses.

Prior to that, he spent several years at Diesel where he was most recently executive vice president of sales and retail.

Kate Spade is among a portfolio of premium labels - including Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Mexx - that Liz Claiborne is building into global retail-based lifestyle brands.