Leena Nair is to join the French luxury giant from Unilever where she rose to chief human resources officer | Source: Tulchan

Chanel Appoints Unilever Executive, Leena Nair, As CEO

Unilever executive, Leena Nair, has been appointed as the new global chief executive of Chanel.

Set to take the helm of the French luxury house in January 2022, Leena Nair will be stepping into her new role as co-owner Alain Wertheimer moves to the role of global executive chair. French billionaire, Alain co-owns Chanel with his brother, Gérard, who both inherited the business from their grandfather and Pierre Wertheimer who co-owned Chanel with Coco Chanel.

According to Reuters, Chanel’s new appointments would guarantee “long-term success as a private company.” Nair will also be based in London where Chanel has its global headquarters.

“This new partnership at the helm of the company, appointed by The Board of Chanel Limited (UK), will further ensure long-term success as a private company, believing in the freedom of creation, cultivating human potential and acting to have a positive impact in the world,” said Chanel in a statement.

Starting out as a trainee, Nair rose the ranks of consumer goods giant, Unilever, to become the first female and youngest-ever Chief Human Resources Officer.

Nair has worked for Unilever for 30 years, helping to lead more than 160,000 employees in more than 100 countries in that time.

In a LinkedIn post, Nair said she would always be a proud advocate of Unilever and “its ambition to make sustainable living commonplace”. Stating she was humbled and honoured by the appointment to the fashion house, Nair also said she is inspired by what Chanel stands for.

While Nair is considered a surprising choice to take the reins of Chanel, especially following on from American fashion native, Maureen Chiquet, the 52-year-old certainly knows how to lead a major company. And with the luxury goods market poised to grow to A$495 billion by 2027, Nair is set to guide Chanel through a period of expansion and growth.

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