LA’s Fashion Institute laying off 322 in company transition – Daily News

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA has given notice of a mass layoff that will impact 322 employees. But the institute said most workers will likely retain their jobs under the new ownership of SKEMA Business School. (Photo courtesy of FIDM)

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles has given notice of a mass layoff that will affect 322 employees, but the institute said most likely will retain their jobs under new ownership.

In a Sept. 19 posting on FIDM’s website, management said it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by SKEMA Business School, a private, nonprofit education and research institution based in France.

Subject to accreditation and regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in early 2024.

FIDM officials could not be reached to explain why the institute is being sold. But in a recent notice to the state Employment Development Department, Human Resources Director V. Kim Wetzel linked the layoffs to “business conditions.”

Wetzel said the layoffs — which include 225 faculty members, seven department chairs, five counselors, five IT employees and five student workers, among others — are set to be completed by Dec. 30.

Following the acquisition, the institute will operate as SKEMA Business School LA with a focus on creative business and management programs. The move aims to combine the educational offerings of both institutions while “enhancing opportunities for students in the global business landscape.”

Earlier this year, FIDM announced that its fashion-design program had merged with Arizona State University‘s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, which is now named ASU FIDM. Herberger operates in both LA and Phoenix.

Earlier this year, FIDM announced that its fashion-design program had merged with Arizona State University’s expanded fashion education at its Herberger Institute for Design, which operates in both LA and Arizona. (Photo courtesy of FIDM)

Barbara Bundy, FDIM’s vice president of education, said SKEMA’s acquisition of FIDM “could give FIDM students new aspirations and avenues of employability in a rapidly expanding global industry.”

Wetzel said FIDM anticipates “it is likely that a substantial percentage of non-faculty staff, as well as certain active faculty members will be offered new employment” at the institute’s 919 S. Grand Ave. location, although that decision will be made by SKEMA.

FIDM officials said students studying beauty business management, digital marketing, business management and other programs, will be able to combine other disciplines taught at SKEMA with their existing curriculum and could take advantage of programs SKEMA is developing at its international campuses once required approvals are obtained.

Alice Guilhon, SKEMA’s dean and executive president, said SKEMA (School of Knowledge Economy and Management) is looking to expand its international footprint in the U.S., adding that the school already operates a high-tech hub in Raleigh, N.C.

SKEMA was formed in 2009 in France after the merger between Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Lille and the CERAM Business School. The schools were created in 1892 and 1963, respectively.

SKEMA has campuses in Brazil, Canada, China, France, South Africa and the U.S, with 10,000 students representing more than 130 nationalities.

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