Chanel Unveils New Global CEO

The new global CEO of Chanel Leena Nair will be taking the helm of the French fashion house following a 30-year career working for the consumer goods company Unilever.

The world-renowned fashion house Chanel has named a new global chief executive officer (CEO) Leena Nair, a former executive of the multinational consumer goods company Unilever. Nair’s career at Unilever spanned over 30 years working up to the position as a member of the company’s executive committee and chief of human resources.

The former CEO Maureen Chiquet came from a fashion background working as the CEO of Chanel for nine years until 2016 when French billionaire who owns Chanel, Alain Wertheimer, along with his brother, Gerard Wertheimer, took the helm as CEO temporarily. After appointing Nair, Wertheimer transitioned into the role of global executive chairman.

Nair is proving to be a promising successor as global CEO as she oversaw 150,000 employees and will be working as the global CEO based in London. Nair started her career at Unilever working as a trainee on the factory floor working her way up the corporate ladder achieving gender equality among global management and advocating to pay a living wage across the supply chain.

Nair is also serving as a non-executive board member for the British multinational telecommunications holding company BT Group. She has also previously served as a non-executive director of the energy, business, and industrial strategy department for the British government.

Unilever is a publicly-traded company compared to Chanel that is privately owned as the French fashion house has always fiercely defended its independence and only started publishing financial results in 2018. Chanel’s choice of being a privately held company is unique as a majority of fashion houses are publicly traded publishing their revenue.

Chanel reported the 2021 annual revenue at $13.2 billion that is a slight dip compared to 2020. Chanel’s appointment of Nair is following the trend of attracting top executives from consumer goods companies to incorporate the marketing of consumer goods with luxury brands.