Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Yves Carcelle, the former chief executive officer who turned Louis Vuitton into the world’s largest and most valuable luxury brand, has died. He was 66.
Carcelle died yesterday following a long illness, Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, which owns Vuitton, said today in a statement. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year and died in Paris, Women’s Wear Daily reported.
Carcelle, who spent much of his career traveling the world looking for the next Vuitton outpost, became head of the brand in 1990, a year after joining LVMH, and set about transforming the trunk maker into LVMH’s biggest and most profitable label. He hired Marc Jacobs as artistic director in 1997 and expanded Vuitton into ready-to-wear and, more recently, fine jewelry, while opening shops from Las Vegas to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
“A tireless traveler, Yves was a pioneer who embodied the image and values of Louis Vuitton,” LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said in the statement. “Always curious, passionate and in motion, he was one of the most inspiring leaders of men and women I have ever had the privilege of knowing.”
Carcelle stood down as CEO of the label in 2012 and became vice president of Foundation Louis Vuitton, a Frank Gehry-designed art museum slated to open on the outskirts of Paris in October. He remained on LVMH’s executive committee and as an adviser to Arnault.
Born on May 18, 1948, in Paris, Carcelle attended the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, graduating in mathematics in 1966. He also earned a master’s in business administration from French business school Insead, according to his profile on the company’s website.
Beginning his career as a product manager at Spontex, a maker of household cleaning products, in 1970, Carcelle joined Blenda Pharm laboratories in 1974. He was appointed director of the Absorba clothing brand at Poron in 1979 and became president of Descamps, a maker of household linen, in 1985. He joined LVMH in 1989 as director of strategy.
Carcelle was also a board member of French luxury-goods organization Comite Colbert and art venue Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He was a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and an honorary member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
He is survived by his wife Rebecca and their two sons as well as three children from a previous marriage, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
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