Indian becomes CEO of a French luxury fashion company

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Chanel CEO Leena Nair. Photo file

LONDON: Luxury fashion house Chanel has chosen Leena Nair, an Indian industry outsider and longtime Unilever executive, to be its new CEO.

Nair said in a Twitter post that she was “humbled and honored to be named the global CEO of Chanel, an iconic and admired company.”

The news caused a stir on Wednesday in India, Nair’s birthplace, where she received dozens of kudos and compliments on her announcement, with one calling her a “serial glass ceiling breaker” .

People of Indian descent run a number of global tech, finance and other companies, but the same cannot be said of luxury brands. Gupta, who also runs a luxury management school, said his students would be “inspired” by the news.

Nair succeeds billionaire co-owner and chairman of private company Chanel, Alain Wertheimer, as CEO. Grandson of the co-founder of Chanel, Pierre Wertheimer, he remains world executive president of the fashion house.

In an emailed press release, Chanel said hiring Nair “will further ensure long-term success as a private company.” She will begin her new role at the end of January and will be based in London, the company said.


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