LONDON: The luxury fashion house Chanel has chosen Leena Nair, an industry outsider from India and longtime executive at Unilever, to be its new CEO.
Nair said in a Twitter post that she was “humbled and honored to be appointed the Global Chief Executive Officer of Chanel, an iconic and admired company”. The news made a huge splash on Wednesday in India, Nair’s birthplace, where she received scores of congratulations and compliments to her announcement, one calling her a “serial glass-ceiling breaker”. People of Indian origin are at the helm of a number of global tech, finance and other companies, but the same cannot be said for luxury brands. Gupta, who also runs a school for luxury management, said his students would be “inspired” by the news.
Nair is succeeding billionaire co-owner and chairman of privately held Chanel, Alain Wertheimer, as CEO. A grandson of Chanel co-founder Pierre Wertheimer, he remains as global executive chairman of the fashion house.
In an emailed press announcement, Chanel said Nair’s hiring “will further ensure long-term success as a private company”. She will start her new role at the end of January and be based in London, the company said.