Leena rose through the ranks at Unilever.
Luxury fashion brand Chanel has named Leena Nair, an executive from Unilever, as its new global CEO.
The consumer goods veteran is set to run one of the world’s biggest luxury goods groups.
Leena Nair’s career at Unilever spanned 30 years, most recently as the chief of human resources and a member of the company’s executive committee.
She also serves as a non-executive board member at BT and has previously served as a non-executive director of the UK government’s business, energy and industrial strategy department.
Leena Nair took to Twitter on December 14, 2021, to share the news.
She wrote: “I am humbled and honoured to be appointed the Global Chief Executive Officer of Chanel, an iconic and admired company.”
The 52-year-old follows US businesswoman Maureen Chiquet, who came from a fashion background and was CEO of Chanel for nine years until early 2016.
French billionaire Alain Wertheimer, who owns Chanel with his brother Gerard and had originally taken on the CEO role, will temporarily shift to the role of global executive chairman.
The group said Leena Nair, who at Unilever oversaw 150,000 people, would join at the end of January 2022 and be based in London.
It added that the new appointment would ensure its “long-term success as a private company”.
I am so inspired by what @CHANEL stands for. It is a company that believes in the freedom of creation, in cultivating human potential and in acting to have a positive impact in the world.
— Leena Nair (@LeenaNairHR) December 14, 2021
Leena rose through the ranks at Unilever, having started as a trainee on the factory floor.
Leena Nair’s recruitment has arrived as the fashion industry is under pressure to show a more inclusive and diverse approach.
Under her watch, Unilever achieved gender parity across global management.
Now, Chanel is hoping Leena Nair will achieve similar results for the fashion house.
According to Chanel, Leena has “built a global reputation for progressive and human-centred leadership, delivering significant business impact”.
The fashion house went on to describe her as a “highly respected as a visionary leader, whose ability to champion a long-term, purpose-driven agenda is matched with a consistently strong record of business outcomes”.
Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, spoke of Leena Nair’s contribution to the global consumer brand.
In a statement, Alan said:
“Leena has been a pioneer throughout her career at Unilever, but no more so than in her role as CHRO, where she has been a driving force on our equity, diversity and inclusion agenda, on the transformation of our leadership development, and on our preparedness for the future of work.
“She has played a critical role in building our purpose-led, future-fit organisation.”