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Jonathan Moss Legal counsel and corporate secretary, Gucci Group N.V., U.S. Division Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta clothes are only a few of the fashion labels that in-house lawyers might covet. But they’re just part of the job for Jonathan Moss, legal counsel and corporate secretary for the U.S. division of Gucci Group N.V. It takes more than wanting a killer wardrobe to succeed as Gucci’s U.S. legal chief, however. Moss’s responsibilities run from negotiating real estate contracts to battling counterfeiting operations. Moss, 38, has spent most of his career straddling the legal and business worlds. He spent several years as a manager in the tax group of Coopers & Lybrand. From there, he joined the pharmaceutical distributor McKesson Corporation as a business development director. Since going to Gucci in 2001, Moss has honed his anticounterfeiting skill while learning the fine points of how the leather is stitched in upscale Italian loafers. What’s the biggest legal issue that you deal with? Brand protection. The company’s value is its trademark. Making sure that we comply with the intellectual property rules not just in the U.S. but around the world is essential to our business. Do you get to attend the fashion shows? I went to my first one a few weeks ago in Florence. It was very exciting because we’ve had big changes in the company with Tom Ford — who had been the company’s designer for a long time — being replaced by a number of different designers. This was the first opportunity to show a complete line — A to Z — of all the Gucci products by the new team. Do you go to Italy often? I’ve been overseas a couple times this summer, but there are no rules about my travel. My responsibilities are really in the U.S. Do you speak Italian? No. I wish I did. What’s the office dress code? Is it strictly Gucci? It’s very formal here. It’s a reflection of both the business that we’re in and the importance of emphasizing that for work, people should dress up. A lot of the clothes that I do wear come from Gucci or Yves Saint Laurent or our other companies. Since I work with the directors of these companies, it just seems appropriate that I would wear a pair of Sergio Rossi shoes or an Yves Saint Laurent tie. They’re working so hard to market our products, and they take a lot of pride in seeing people wear them. Has your clothing style outside of work changed as well? It must be pretty hard to switch from Gucci loafers to Banana Republic sandals on the weekend. [Banana Republic] has nice things as well, but when you wear a pair of Sergio Rossi shoes you start to get very used to them. It’s like anything else, if you experience a product that is better, you become used to it, and it is hard to go back and find a pair of shoes at Banana Republic or some other store — not that they don’t all sell very respectable shoes. I hope you get a Gucci discount. All of the employees get a discount. [But] I don’t get anything special being in the corporate office.

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