If luxury brands are to sustain they have come to realize that top talent is the frontier. So with that said many leading luxury brands are changing guards in leadership. Out with the old and in with the new. As many as 14 new presidents, chief execs, and chief financial officers and creative directors who started out with big name European luxury brands have been replaced.
Luxury companies are seeking new talent and ideas as they contend with a slowing economy in China and a cut in high-end spending by Europeans. An increasing dependence on emerging markets and the Internet are stoking demand for executives with broader skills, according to Michael Boroian, president of recruiter Sterling International in Paris. He anticipates more changes this year.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC), the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, hired Sebastian Suhl as CEO of its Givenchy fashion and leather goods brand in March. He is credited with driving competitor Prada Group’s expansion in the Asia Pacific region in his six and a half years with the Milan-based company, latterly as chief operating officer.
Most appointments have come from within the industry and some from within the same company. Mulberry, the Somerset, England-based maker of 595-pound ($944) Cookie Lily leather handbags, poached Bruno Guillon from Hermes International SCA (RMS) to be CEO, while LVMH shuffled at least four executives, including moving Michael Burke from Fendi to head up Bulgari, which it bought for about 3.7 billion euros ($4.8 billion) last year.
Will this truly impact the ability of luxury brands to target China’s luxury market?