LVMH announces new executive appointments

LVMH has announced that Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and chief executive of the LVMH Fashion Group, will transition into the role of special advisor to LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault, effective January 2018. Current Christian Dior Couture chief executive Sidney Toledano will replace Roussel as chairman of the LVMH Fashion Group, while Fendi chief executive Pietro Beccari will head to Dior as chief executive. A successor for Beccari, who has led Fendi since 2012, has not yet been named.

In due time, Roussel will assume “new operational responsibilities” within the LMVH executive committee, of which he has been a member for 14 years, although the details of his new role have yet to be disclosed.

According to Arnault, Beccari’s appointment signals “a new era” at the house of Dior, which was integrated into the LVMH group earlier this year through a two-part deal worth $13 billion. “Having been an integral member of our group for 12 years, Pietro has an excellent track record,” he said in a statement, citing Beccari’s work as marketing director of Louis Vuitton and the growth experienced by Fendi during his tenure. “He will be an excellent leader who will steer Dior towards ever greater success in the future.”

That good energy may prove invaluable. While the company says Chiuri’s early collections generated a strong response at retail, they have been met with chilly reviews from the fashion press and some industry observers have questioned whether the designer is a good long-term fit for Dior.

“I think it’s definitely a plus, but I believe the fact that I know the group from the inside and [I know] the mechanics of the group is very important,” said Beccari. “We’re living in a very interesting period in the industry in which there are big losers and big winners. What is true today is not true the day after tomorrow. It’s a very challenging moment in a way; you have to be better than the others and get market share from the others in order to survive. I think innovation and speed are exceptionally important in the market today.”

Executives from Céline, Givenchy, Loewe, Pucci, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Rossi Moda and Nicholas Kirkwood will now report to Toledano, whose tenure at Dior began in 1994, when he was named director of leather goods. Under his direction, Christian Dior released the Lady Dior handbag in 1995, one of the industry’s first “It” bags, which helped to catapult the couture house into a global brand.

“Sidney Toledano is the driving force behind the huge success of Christian Dior Couture across the world,” Arnault said. “Over the past 25 years, he has done an outstanding job of developing the exceptional house of Christian Dior Couture and promoting its elegance and modernity through its highly talented team of designers.”

In his new role, Toledano — known as an expert merchandiser — hopes to continue building on Roussel’s foundation by advising each house leader on operations, brand positioning and brand integrity. “We’ve had success at Dior because of the talent of the designers, but also because of how we merchandise ready-to-wear, bag, shoes and retail,” he said. “I believe that experience is important. It’s easy to make mistakes; it’s not enough to have a hit bag or a hit shoe. You have to reinforce the knowledge.”

Toledano, who mentored several of the industry’s top executives during his tenure at Dior, said that he looked forward to serving as a sounding board for executives who operate within the group. “I want to give guidance,” he said. “I don’t want to do it myself. At Dior, I was so hands on. I want to help them. This is my objective.”

In 2016, LVMH’s Fashion and Leather Goods Group — which includes every fashion maison besides Christian Dior Couture — accounted for nearly a third of the overall business, generating €12.3 billion ($14.3 billion), up 5 percent from €11.7 billion ($13.6 billion) a year earlier and 137 percent from €5.2 million ($6 billion) in 2006.

Dior at Ginza Six, Tokyo