Meet Leena Nair, Chanel’s new global CEO

By Our Reporter
Leena Nair. Photo: Instagram @leenanairhr

French luxury fashion house Chanel has announced the appointment of Leena Nair, an industry outsider from India and long-time executive at Unilever, as its new global CEO.

In a post on Twitter, Nair said, “I am humbled and honoured to be appointed the Global Chief Executive Officer of @CHANEL, an iconic and admired company.”

In another tweet, the 52-year-old, who moves from being the global head of human resources at the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever, where she had worked for 30 years, wrote, “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.”

Chanel, in its press announcement, said Nair’s hiring “will further ensure long-term success as a private company.”

Nair joins office in London in January replacing Alain Wertheimer who will become global chair of the fashion house.

The Indian-born executive was Unilever’s first Asian, first female and youngest ever chief HR officer, a role under which she was responsible for about 150,000 people across more than 100 countries and led the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) agenda for its workforce, a report by Guardian said.

Of her long career at Unilever, Nair said she was grateful for time at a place that has been her home for 30 years. “It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to a truly purpose-driven organisation,” she tweeted.

November 2019 at the CSR Conference hosted by @DanskErhverv Danish Chamber of Commerce, Copenhagen. Nair with other attendees at the event, including Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of The Danish Chamber of Commerce. Pic source: Instagram leenanairhr

The news of Nair’s appointment was celebrated by Indians and the Indian diaspora all over with Chanel’s announcement being praised as a turning point for diversity within the industry.

According to Wikipedia, Nair’s hometown is Kolhapur, Maharashtra. She was a student of Holy Cross Convent High School in Kolhapur. She was also student of The New College Kolhapur. Before graduating from XLRI—Xavier School of Management as the gold medalist (1990-1992), she studied electronics engineering at Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli (Maharashtra). After working at Jamshedpur, she started working at three different factories in Kolkata, Ambattur, Tamil Nadu and Taloja, Maharashtra.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Leena Nair (@leenanairhr)

Her awards include being named among India’s Most Powerful Businesswomen in 2021 by Fortune India, Role Model of Year, The Great British Businesswoman’s Awards (2021), Global Indian of the Year—The Economic Times’ Prime Women Leadership Awards (2020), Thinkers50 List—Thinkers Who Will Shape the Future of Business (2019), and recognised by Queen Elizabeth II as one of the accomplished Indian Business Leaders in the UK (2017).

In her Instagram posts, Nair has shared thoughts on success. “If you’re the sort of person who likes to try to do everything, you can start to lose focus. By all means, try lots of things out, but I genuinely believe there is a balance to be had. ⠀

“Don’t waste your energy on something you’re not passionate about or things that aren’t moving you towards your goals,” she posts. ⠀

Nair is married to financial entrepreneur Kumar Nair and has two sons.

Follow The Indian Sun on Twitter | InstagramFacebook


Spread the love and Earn Tokens