Another Indian has landed the head job with a global leader. Barely two years after Sundar Pichai became CEO at Alphabet, five months after Satya Nadella became chairman at Microsoft and less than a month after Parag Agrawal succeeded Jack Dorsey at Twitter, another Indian has bagged a coveted role, just this time in the fashion enterprise. Leena Nair has been designated as CEO of the French luxury group Chanel.
The group on Tuesday declared Unilever executive Nair as its new Global Chief Executive, established in London. The French group stated in a report that French billionaire Alain Wertheimer, who holds Chanel with his brother Gerard Wertheimer, would move to the position of global executive chairman.
All the statements about the 52-year-old Nair’s appointment, whether from the luxury label or the consumer leader, highlight her capability to deliver business results while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach.
Chanel’s statement noted Nair’s “global reputation for progressive and human-centred leadership, delivering significant business impact”. It described her 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, Unilever’s CEO, thanked Nair for her “outstanding contribution”. Nair’s career at the multinational consumer goods company traversed 30 years, most newly as the chief of human resources and a member of Unilever’s executive committee.
Leena Nair holds the reputation of being “the first female, first Asian, youngest ever” chief human resources officer (CHRO) of Unilever. She entered Hindustan Unilever in 1992 after passing out from one of the top B-schools in the country-the Xavier School of Management, with a gold medal.
“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, which is now the employer of choice in over 50 countries globally,” he stated.
He added that her leadership helped their HR teams manage “the many challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic with great care, compassion and professionalism”.
Chanel, known for its tweed suits, quilted handbags and No. 5 perfume, said Nair would join the group in January, adding that the new appointments would ensure its “long-term success as a private company.”