Leena Nair, who on Tuesday stepped down as Unilever’s CHRO, said she was “humbled and honoured” to be appointed the global chief executive officer of Chanel, an iconic and admired 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,” Nair wrote in her LinkedIn post on Tuesday, which received thousands of reactions and comments soon after the update.
“I am grateful for my long career at Unilever, a place that has been my home for 30 years. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to a truly purpose-driven organisation. I will always be a proud advocate of Unilever and its ambition to make sustainable living commonplace,” she added.
Nair, 52, has the rare distinction of being the first female, first Asian, and the youngest-ever CHRO of the London-based consumer goods company, which is a household name in beauty & personal care as well as foods & refreshment segments.
Nair, who has spent about three decades at the company and is also a member of Unilever Leadership Executive, will take up the new assignment in January and be based in London. Chanel, founded in 1910 in Paris by fashion legend Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, is one of the world's largest luxury goods. In a statement, Chanel said that French billionaire Alain Wertheimer, who owns the company with his brother Gerard Wertheimer, would take up the role of global executive chairman of the group. Nair replaces Alain, who served as the group’s global CEO since the exit of Maureen Chiquet in 2016.
The group said that Nair’s appointment would ensure its "long-term success as a private company."