(Adds details from statement, background)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) - French luxury and sports group Kering said on Friday it has picked Fabrizio Malverdi, the CEO of lingerie label Agent Provocateur, to head its Italian high-end tailor Brioni.
As Brioni's CEO, Malverdi, who previously led Dior Homme, Givenchy, and John Galliano, will take charge of the international expansion of the suitmaker that once clothed James Bond, the statement said.
Malverdi is joining Brioni as Agent Provocateur was sold earlier this month to Mike Ashley, owner of UK's Sports Direct , after going into administration.
Malverdi had been hired in April 2016 in an attempt to turn around the struggling lingerie label Agent Provocateur, which was hit by a downturn in luxury spending and an accounting scandal.
An Italian national, Malverdi will replace Gianluca Flore at Brioni, who left the group in February four months after the departure of the brand's creative director Justin O'Shea.
O'Shea had undertook an unexpected gothic revamp at the classic Italian tailor which was founded in Rome in 1945. He enlisted rock band Metallica to front a campaign but left after only six months in the job. Brioni has yet to fill that post.
Kering bought Brioni in 2011. The group does not publish individual figures for its smaller fashion brands, but Brioni has suffered from a drop in tourist traffic in Europe and Russian demand due to the rouble's devaluation. It has also had to cut jobs in the past year.
Brioni employs 1,200 people against 1,800 when it was bought by Kering. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)