LVMH chief's daughter to take top role at Louis Vuitton

PARIS Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:06am EDT

Top British designer Julien MacDonald (L) smiles as he looks up at Delphine Arnault (R) ahead of the men's ready-to-wear show by French fashion house Christian Dior in Paris, July 2, 2001.

Top British designer Julien MacDonald (L) smiles as he looks up at Delphine Arnault (R) ahead of the men's ready-to-wear show by French fashion house Christian Dior in Paris, July 2, 2001.

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PARIS (Reuters) - The daughter of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, will take a top role at Louis Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury brand, the French luxury goods group said on Tuesday.

Delphine Arnault, 38, is leaving her post as deputy general manager of Dior, which she has held since 2008, to take a similar role at Louis Vuitton in September, reporting to chief executive, Michael Burke.

Her appointment comes as Louis Vuitton, known for its monogrammed handbags, faces a drop in European sales and sluggish demand in China.

Along with younger brother Antoine, who is currently chief executive of luxury Italian shoe maker Berluti, Bernard Arnault's eldest daughter Delphine has been groomed since her teens to take senior roles within LVMH.

A graduate of prestigious French business school EDHEC and the London School of Economics, she first learned the ropes of the family-controlled business as a teenage sales girl at a Dior boutique. She now sits on the LVMH board.

In her role at Dior, Arnault was credited for bringing creative director Raf Simons on board last year after the departure of John Galliano.

Simons' modern take on heritage Dior designs has since met with critical and commercial success, propelling sales and demand for couture clothes.

In December, Christian Dior Couture reported sales for the half-year to October 31 up 18 percent at 632 million euros ($840 million) and said margins had improved.

Delphine Arnault's father is chairman, chief executive and controlling shareholder of LVMH and the wealthiest man in France, controlling 60 luxury brands and a business that spans fashion, perfume, wine and watches.

Bernard Arnault caused an uproar in France when he sought Belgian citizenship last September - a move he said was meant to protect a foundation designed to control his family's holdings in LVMH if he dies, not to dodge new wealth taxes.

He has since abandoned plans to apply for Belgian citizenship.

Arnault is currently locked in a battle with the Hermes family, whom he shocked in 2010 by revealing that he held a 14 percent stake in their company.

Last month, the French stockmarket regulator AMF called for LVMH to receive the maximum fine for having failed to disclose moves to build up its holding in the 175-year-old maker of Birkin and Kelly handbags.

(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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