Leena Nair, FMCG major Unilever’s first female, first Asian, and youngest ever Chief Human Resources Officer and Member of the Unilever Leadership Executive has stepped down as she takes on her new role as the Global Chief Executive Officer of the French luxury maison, Chanel.
“Leena Nair, CHRO, has decided to leave the company in January 2022 to pursue a new career opportunity as Global Chief Executive Officer, Chanel Ltd,” said Unilever in a statement while announcing the departure of Nair.
The XLRI Jamshedpur alumni’s career at Unilever spanned 30 years, progressing and assuming various roles. She started as a management trainee in 1992 and made her way up. She is an advocate for human-focused and compassionate leadership and was one of Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women in 2021. In a statement, Chanel recognised Nair as a “visionary leader whose ability to champion a long-term, purpose-driven agenda is matched with a consistently strong record of business outcomes.”
Nair is said to bring an outsider’s perspective in the fashion industry and the new appointment would ensure the brand’s “long-term success as a private company,” according to Chanel.
French Billionaire Alain Wertheimer, who co-owns the company with his brother Gérard, is serving as Chanel’s CEO on a temporary basis since 2016 after the departure of American fashion executive Maureen Chiquet. After Nair’s appointment, he will move to the role of global executive chairman alongside Gérard.