June 4, 2018 / 4:23 PM / a year ago

LVMH boss Arnault taps son for top communications job

FILE PHOTO: Antoine Arnault, son of Chairman and CEO of Luxury goods group LVMH Bernard Arnault, leaves after a news conference, to announce a deal to simplify Christian Dior business structure, in Paris, France, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Antoine Arnault, one of LVMH (LVMH.PA) Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault’s five children and an executive in charge of several brands at the luxury group, will oversee communications and image issues at the company, according to an internal memo.

LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate and owner of labels such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, has long been tightly run by the Arnault family and its patriarch, who built up the group through acquisitions.

The latest appointment adds to Antoine Arnault’s public profile. Communications had previously fallen under the remit of Nicolas Bazire, in charge of development and acquisitions and managing director of Groupe Arnault, the family holding company that has a 47 percent stake in LVMH.

The group made the change at a time of “increased exposure”, including from public authorities and on social media, Bernard Arnault said in the internal memo seen by Reuters.

Antoine Arnault, 41 - CEO of LVMH’s Berluti, known for its high-end men’s shoes, and chairman of luxury cashmere label Loro Piana - was already behind some communications initiatives at the group. They included organizing “open days” for the public at some brands.

Most of Bernard Arnault’s other children also work at LVMH. Daughter Delphine, 43, is number two at mega-brand Vuitton, the group’s biggest revenue driver. Son Alexandre, 26, runs German luggage brand Rimowa, which LVMH bought in 2016, and Frederic, 23, is head of connected technologies at watch brand Tag Heuer.

The youngest son, Jean, is still a student.

Asked on several occasions which of his children was likely to succeed him, Bernard Arnault has always said the job would go to the most capable and the one who could combine business acumen with creative flair, without giving a name.

Reporting by Pascale Denis, Writing by Sarah White; editing by David Evans

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