// French luxury conglomerate Kering appoints Emma Watson to board of directors
// Kering owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga
Kering has appointed actress Emma Watson to the board of directors following its AGM on June 16.
The French luxury conglomerate owns brands such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.
The news comes after Kering shareholders approved of Watson’s appointment to the board.
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Shareholders also appointed Jean Liu, president of “Chinese Uber” Didi Chuxing and Credit Suisse Group chief executive Tidjane Thiam.
The latter is also chair of the audit committee while Watson is also chair of the sustainability committee.
The appointments were already proposed by the board of directors gathered on March 12.
Kering said Watson’s appointment was driven by her work in activism, whether for women’s rights and gender equality or the environment and sustainability.
“I am delighted to welcome Jean Liu, Tidjane Thiam and Emma Watson to our board of directors. Their respective knowledge and competences, and the multiplicity of their backgrounds and perspectives will be invaluable additions to Kering’s board of directors,” Kering chief executive François-Henri Pinault said.
“The collective intelligence that comes from diverse points of view and the richness of different experiences are crucial to the future of our organisation,” he said.
Watson catapulted to fame 20 years ago as Hermione Granger in the film adaptation of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books and has since made a name for herself as an actress as well as an activist.
She is particularly committed to equal rights and has launched the HeForShe initiative for this purpose, which involves men in the promotion of gender equality.
Watson has also held the role of UN Women Goodwill Ambassador since July 2014.
Last month, Kering launched a €1.2 billion (£1 billion) bond issue after the company suffered a 15.4 per cent sales hit in the first quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kering said the bond issue “contributes to the diversification of the group’s financing resources and to an increase in its financial flexibility, by enabling the group to refinance its existing debt and extend the maturity date of its funding sources”.
The bond will be issued in two tranches, each worth €600 million (£523 million).
“The Covid-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on our operations in the first quarter,” Pinault said.