The first female and youngest-ever Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at FMCG Unilever, Leena Nair stepped away to join the French luxury fashion group Chanel as its Global CEO. She is the second Indian-origin woman to take over as a global CEO after Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo), who happens to be Leena’s mentor.

“Leena Nair, CHRO, has decided to leave the company in January 2022. Meanwhile, she is all set to pursue a new career opportunity as Global Chief Executive Officer, Chanel Ltd,” Unilever said in a statement.

Leena Nair 

Nair shared the news on her twitter account.

“I will always be a proud advocate of Unilever and its ambition to make sustainable living commonplace. Overwhelmed by the love and support my appointment as Chanel CEO has got. Thank you! Please trust that I am reading every comment, even if I don’t reply to everyone individually,” Nair tweeted.

“Chanel has always inspired me. 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,” she added.

She also shared the news on her Instagram with a heartfelt post.

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Nair’s 30-year-long career at Unilever comes to an end with her as the chief of human resources. She also served as a member of the company’s executive committee. Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope, thanked her for her “outstanding contribution”, adding that she “has been a pioneer through her career. As well as a driving force on Unilever’s equity, diversity, and inclusion agenda. She has played a critical role in building our purpose-led, future-fit organisation.”

The Indian born British national has been given the charge of ensuring Chanel’s “long term success as a private company”, a statement says. Meanwhile, recognising Leena 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”.

Chanel’s Previous CEO

Renowned for its women’s pantsuits, tweeds, handbags, and perfumes, Chanel was founded in 1910 by the legendary Gabrielle Chanel, fondly called “Coco” Chanel. What started out as a hat boutique in Paris, became synonymous with French fashion.

From 2016 to date, Alain Wertheimer, who owns Chanel with his brother Gerard Wertheimer, temporarily serves as CEO’s. However, now the 73-year-old French billionaire will now take on the role of global Executive Chairman.

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