Chanel names Unilever veteran as new global CEO

Leena Nair smiling
Leena Nair joins Chanel from Unilever, where she had a 30-year career.
// Chanel appoints Leena Nair, an industry outsider from India and longtime executive at Unilever, to be its new CEO
// Nair will take position at Channel at the end of January 2022

The luxury fashion house Chanel has named Leena Nair, an executive from Unilever as its new global CEO.

Nair joins the fashion and beauty giant from Unilever, where she had a 30-year career, serving as the global consumer goods company’s chief human resources officer, and a member of the executive committee since 2016.

Nair will take position at Chanel at the end of January 2022 while Alain Wertheimer, who co-owns the brand with his brother Gerard, will move to the role of global executive chairman.


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He has served as CEO since the departure of American fashion executive Maureen Chiquet in 2016.

While Nair, 52, is not a part of the Paris fashion scene, Chanel has a wide range of products in addition to its fashion designs.

She 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.”

“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,” Chanel said in a brief statement.

The news made a huge splash in India, Nair’s birthplace on Wednesday, where she received scores of congratulations and compliments to her announcement, one calling her a “serial glass-ceiling breaker.”

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