Domenico De Sole, the retired CEO of Gucci Group N.V., has resigned as a director of Procter & Gamble Co. to pursue a project with fashion designer Tom Ford.

Procter said the resignation of De Sole, 61, was effective immediately. He was elected to the board in 2001.

“I am stepping off the board so I can focus additional time on a variety of businesses, including my new venture with Tom Ford and Estee Lauder,” De Sole said in a press release. “It has been an honor to serve this great company, and I remain confident about its future success.”

De Sole and Ford announced on April 12 that they would launch a new company, called Tom Ford. It is not the first time they worked together. They are well-known for their work at Gucci, which they transformed from a family business into a modern, international fashion icon before they both left in April 2004.

The new venture involves two partnerships: One with Estee Lauder, to develop beauty products and a fragrance; and a partnership with the eyewear maker Marcolin Group of Italy. De Sole serves as chairman of the new company; Ford as CEO.

“Domenico De Sole has made important contributions to the company and to the work of P&G’s board, for which we are thankful,” A.G. Lafley, Procter’s chairman, and CEO, said in the release. “We have benefited greatly from his wisdom and experience and wish him continued success.”

De Sole was born in Rome in 1944 and moved to the United States in 1970, after earning a law degree. He joined Gucci in 1984 and became CEO of Gucci Group NV in 1995.