PARIS Dec 5 LVMH has completed its
acquisition of major Italian cashmere clothing brand Loro Piana
and named as its chairman Antoine Arnault, son of the luxury
group's chief executive.
When the 2 billion-euro ($2.7 billion) deal was announced in
July LVMH said the business's two former owners, Sergio and Pier
Luigi Loro Piana, would remain at its helm. On Thursday the
group said they would become vice-presidents of the company,
leaving the top spot for Arnault.
LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, acquired 80 percent
of Loro Piana to boost its presence in high-end handcrafted
products popular with Asian buyers.
"The appointment of Antoine Arnault is a strong signal of
the friendship between our two families now," Sergio and Pier
Luigi Loro Piana said in a statement.
"LVMH's expertise in high-end luxury, demonstrated for over
a decade at Louis Vuitton and now with the development of
Berluti, is indisputable."
The appointment at Loro Piana gives the 36 year-old Antoine
Arnault a bigger role within LVMH, which is controlled by the
Arnault family, and the question of who will eventually succeed
Chief Executive Bernard Arnault, 64, has been a subject of much
speculation among investors.
Antoine Arnault, who made his mark as head of communications
at Louis Vuitton with advertising campaigns featuring
celebrities such as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, now
heads the group's Berluti luxury shoe brand which he is trying
to develop into a menswear label.
Antoine's sister Delphine, 38, who used to be deputy head of
fashion brand Dior, last summer became second-in-command at
Louis Vuitton, LVMH's biggest source of cash and profit.
Delphine has also been building her reputation as the
group's top talent spotter. Last month, she created an LVMH
prize to support young designers, enrolling fashion heavyweights
as members of the jury such as Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs and
Phoebe Philo, creative director of Celine, one of LVMH's
fastest-growing fashion brands.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)