Michele Caniato Joins sbe as Chief Brand Officer
sbe, the Los Angeles-based leading lifestyle hospitality company that develops, manages and operates award-winning hospitality venues, announced today it has hired design industry power broker Michele Caniato as its Chief Brand Officer. Starting September 1, 2016, Caniato will be responsible for sbe’s brand and image development across all subsidiaries. Caniato will also advance the marketing, design and advertising for sbe. He will be based in New York.
“I have worked closely with Michele for the past 15 years and he has helped bring critical brands to sbe during the course of our previous partnership,” said Sam Nazarian, sbe Founder and CEO. “It is a great honour that he will be joining our team as we move into a new era of expansions across all of our groups. Michele has an unrivaled background in design management and is widely regarded as ‘the design world’s number one power broker.’ His expertise and experience will profoundly impact sbe and our future. We are thrilled he will help us create the ultimate hospitality lifestyle experience.”
Caniato said: “The entrepreneurial spirit, vision and leadership brought to the company by Sam is contagious and exuberating. Sam and his team are one of the main reasons behind my decision to join the company. sbe has established itself in a very short time as an industry leader and with the major hotel platform acquisitions and host of amazing new brands, we have in our hands incredible diamonds and we need now to create an extraordinary piece of jewelry. I am honored to be sitting at the table with the team to mastermind how to take the company to the next level. Part of the job will be to tell the stories, to build memorable experiences, to break what is conventional and bring the unexpected into the hospitality industry with unique partners from a variety of different industries. This is going to be an incredible journey!”
Caniato has over two decades of experience in the industry. Prior to his current position, he was President and Co–Founder of Material ConneXion, a role he had held since 2008 though he has worked at the company since its inception 20 years ago. He grew the company to be the one of the design industry’s key resources in the world of materials and technologies. The consultancy helps companies innovate and create the products and services of tomorrow through smart materials and design thinking. Caniato has overseen the expansion of Material ConneXion from its original offices in New York to the company’s global presence in Thailand, Spain, Korea, Italy, Sweden and Japan along with an additional 23 international satellite materials libraries overseas. Material ConneXion now provides a critical cross-industry perspective on materials, design, new product development, sustainability and innovation. Clients include BMW, Apple, Disney, Colgate-Palmolive, Kering, Toyota, Starbucks, IKEA, among others.
In addition to his role at Material ConneXion, Caniato was also the President of Culture + Commerce, the country’s leading design management agency and strategic design consultancy, which he co-founded in 2001. Both Culture + Commerce and sister company Material ConneXion were acquired by SANDOW® in 2011. His inaugural deal between Philippe Starck and Target solidified the notion that design could be accessible and mainstream, as well as aspirational. During his tenure as president, Caniato has grown the company’s portfolio of designers and expanded its list of business relationships. He successfully put together a huge number of deals across a wide range of categories – from hospitality development and interior design to consumer products. He was responsible in finalising strategic licensing and design collaboration between Kravitz Design and CB2, STARCK and Microsoft, Dror Benshetrit and TUMI, Paola Navone and Crate & Barrel to mention a few.
Additionally, Caniato was instrumental in the licensing expansion of FRED SEGAL, a company owned by SANDOW® and CAA. He secured the multiyear licensing contract in Japan.
Caniato holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture and industrial design from the Polytechnic University in Milan. He is originally from Milan, Italy.