LVMH names new Louis Vuitton CEO, puts Arnault daughter in charge of Dior

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  • Delphine Arnault to become CEO of Christian Dior
  • Pietro Beccari to replace Michael Burke at Louis Vuitton
  • Burke to continue working with Arnault

PARIS, Jan 11 (Reuters) – LVMH (LVMH.PA) Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault has reshuffled top management at his luxury goods empire, tightening his family’s grip with the appointment of his daughter Delphine to lead Christian Dior, and naming a new boss for Louis Vuitton.

Pietro Beccari, who has been the head of Dior since 2018, is moving to replace long-time Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke, 65.

“Both are well respected; logical promotions within the group,” said Credit Suisse analyst Natasha Brilliant.

Shares in LVMH, Europe’s most valuable company at about 380 billion euros ($408 billion), rose as much as 2% to hit new highs. Shares in luxury companies have been boosted recently by the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China, a key market.

Delphine Arnault, 47, has worked at Louis Vuitton for the past decade alongside Burke and previously spent a dozen years at Dior.

Burke, who is Bernard Arnault’s longest-serving lieutenant and has also been chairman of jewelery label Tiffany, will continue to work alongside the senior Arnault, the company said in a statement, without detailing his new role.

One of the fashion industry’s most influential executives, Burke oversaw soaring growth at Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury label, playing a key role for example in elevating street styles to the realm of luxury in recent years.

Beccari, meanwhile, who also previously led LVMH-owned label Fendi, increased sales at Christian Dior three-fold to 6.6 billion euros during his tenure, according to estimates from Citi. LVMH does not provide a breakdown of annual sales of its brands.

RESORT STORES, STAR-STUDDED FASHION SHOWS

Beccari pushed the label into new products, including beach accessories such as surfboards and hammocks, bringing them closer to customers by setting up temporary retail outlets in resort locations including Mykonos, Greece, and Santa Barbara, California.

The executive steered a massive overhaul of the label’s historic Avenue Montaigne address in Paris, transforming it into a hulking flagship with restaurants and a museum, reviving foot traffic in the neighbourhood.

Dior catwalk presentations in Paris, which are attended by global stars such as K-pop singer Jisoo and Rihanna, draw crowds of screaming fans, and the brand lit up social networks with a show from menswear designer Kim Jones in Egypt last month, with the pyramids serving as a backdrop.

Bernard Arnault is often spotted in the front row, flanked by his children.

“Succession planning in strategic roles has been instrumental to the success of LVMH’s key brands over the past 20 years, hence today’s moves are significant,” said Thomas Chauvet, analyst with Citi.

ESTATE PLANS

The announced changes, which come into effect in February, follow the recent appointment of Antoine Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s eldest son, to head the family’s holding company.

The tightening of the family’s hold on its empire also comes amid a wave of high-profile successions in other fashion companies in Europe, including at Prada (1913.F) and Zara owner Inditex.

Bernard Arnault, 73, has shown no signs he plans to step down soon and the company last year raised the maximum age of its CEO to 80 from 75.

All of his children hold management positions at brands in the group, carefully groomed by senior executives as they move up the ranks.

Of the five, Delpine Arnault has been most involved in fashion, as head of the group’s fashion prize for upcoming designers.

Delphine and Antoine, 45, are children from their father’s first marriage.

Alexandre Arnault, 30, is in charge of products and communication at Tiffany, while Frederic Arnault, 28, is CEO of another group brand, TAG Heuer. The youngest child, Jean Arnault, 24, heads marketing and product development for Louis Vuitton’s watches division.

As part of the management changes, the company is also folding Tiffany into the watches and jewelery division, under management of Stephane Bianchi.

LVMH shares sparkle

($1 = 0.9308 euros)

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Mimosa Spencer; editing by Mark Potter and Jason Neely

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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