Google appoints marketing veteran Ivy Ross to head Glass unit

Google has appointed design and fashion marketing veteran Ivy Ross to lead its Glass unit as the company looks to broaden the appeal of the wearable technology beyond early adopters to mainstream consumers.

Ivy Ross
Marketing and design veteran Ivy Ross has been appointed to lead Google’s Glass division.

Ross joins Google next week from the art ecommerce site Art.com, where she was CMO, in the same week the company announced Glass will go on sale to anyone in the US, after an initial trail period where the devices were only available to “Explorers” who had signed up to a waiting list or been invited to trial the $1,500 product.

In the early 1990s Ross had a six-year stint as design lead at eyewear company Bausch & Lomb, a brand that has some synergies with Ray-Ban and Oakley maker Luxottica, the company that Google signed a deal with in March to help design and sell a “new breed” of glasses based on Google Glass technology.

Writing in a post on the Google Glass Google+ page, Ross says: “With your help, I look forward to answering the seemingly simple, but truly audacious questions Glass poses: can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it? Can it help us look up and out at the world around us, and the people who share it with us?”

Some of the “audacious” questions Glass poses may well refer to privacy, following reports that Glass wearers have been assaulted by people apparently upset they were being surreptitiously filmed or photographed without their permission.

Ross says she will draw on her career experience at the “intersection of design and marketing” to help make the case for Glass among mainstream consumers.

Prior to joining Art.com in 2012, Ross served as executive vice president of marketing for Gap, responsible for all all aspects of the retailer’s marketing strategy including advertising, communications, store design, packaging and PR. During her three year tenure she led the global “1969” denim relaunch campaign in 2010.

She has also held several other senior marketing roles during her career including chief creative officer at the Disney Store, executive vice president of design and development at Old Navy, senior vice president of worldwide product design and brand image for the girls division of toymaker Mattel, president of Calvin Klein mens accessories and vice president of design and development at Coach Leatherware.

Ross replaces Babak Parviz, who had previously been leading the Google Glass project.

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