Bernard Arnault makes daughter Delphine Christian Dior CEO

LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, the world’s richest man, 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.

Pietro Beccari, who has been the head of Dior since 2018, was named Louis Vuitton CEO.
AFP via Getty Images
Michael Burke
Michael Burke will continue to work alongside the Bernard Arnault.

Burke, who is Bernard Arnault’s longest-serving lieutenant and has also been chairman of jewelry label Tiffany, will continue to work alongside the Arnault senior, 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.

Louis Vuitton store
Shares in luxury companies like LVMH have been boosted recently by the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China, a key market.

Resort stores, start-studded fashion shows

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

Delphine Arnault
Delphine Arnault has worked at Louis Vuitton for the past decade.

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 neighborhood.

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.

Succession 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 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.

Bernard Arnault, flanked by Delphine and son Antoine.
Bernard Arnault, flanked by Delphine and son Antoine.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Dior logo
The tightening of the Arnaults’ hold on its empire also comes amid a wave of high-profile successions in other fashion companies in Europe

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 jewelry division, under management of Stephane Bianchi.

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