LOS ANGELES—sbe has hired Michele Caniato as its chief brand officer. Starting September 1, 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. It is a great honor that he will be joining our team as we move into a new era of expansions across all of our groups,” said Sam Nazarian, sbe founder and CEO. “Michele has an unrivaled background in design management and is widely regarded as ‘the design world’s number-one power broker.’”
“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,” stated Caniato. “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 more than two decades of experience in the industry. Prior to his current position, he was president and cofounder of Material ConneXion, a role he had held since 2008 though he has worked at the company since its inception 20 years ago. 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 cross-industry perspective on materials, design, new product development, sustainability and innovation. Clients include BMW, Apple, Disney, Colgate-Palmolive, Kering, Toyota, Starbucks and IKEA, among others.
In addition to his role at Material ConneXion, Caniato was also the president of Culture + Commerce, a design management agency and strategic design consultancy, which he co-founded in 2001. Both Culture + Commerce and sister company Material ConneXion were acquired by SANDOWin 2011. During his tenure as president, Caniato has grown the company’s portfolio of designers and expanded its list of business relationships. He was responsible in finalizing strategic licensing and design collaboration between Kravitz Design and CB2, STARCK and Microsoft, Dror Benshetrit and TUMI and Paola Navone and Crate & Barrel, to mention a few.