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Wednesday January 26, 2022

Indian becomes French luxury fashion company CEO

Leena Nair is succeeding billionaire co-owner and chairman of privately held Chanel, Alain Wertheimer, as CEO

December 16, 2021
Chanel CEO Leena Nair. File photo
Chanel CEO Leena Nair. File photo

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.

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