Dior Chief Steps Aside as LVMH's Arnault Shuffles Leadership

Updated on
  • Fendi’s Beccari to replace Sidney Toledano as head of Dior
  • Appointment is part of generational shift at luxury giant LVMH

Sidney Toledano will step aside as head of LVMH’s Christian Dior, ending an almost 20-year tenure at the helm of one of the world’s top fashion houses as the luxury conglomerate rejuvenates its executive ranks.

Pietro Beccari, the chief executive officer of LVMH-owned fashion brand Fendi, will replace Toledano as CEO of Christian Dior Couture in early 2018, the Paris-based company said in a statement Wednesday, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg News. The Dior chief will move to a supervisory role as chief of the LVMH Fashion Group, overseeing smaller brands including Loewe, Kenzo and Celine.

Sidney Toledano

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

The shift ends an era for Dior and its parent, after two decades in which Toledano acted as a steady hand as designers like John Galliano grabbed headlines for their creations and, sometimes, their behavior. The 66-year-old Dior chief presided over the rapid growth and transformation of a fashion house known for dressing Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich, relaunching its menswear line under Hedi Slimane.

Across the fashion industry, new blood is stepping into the executive ranks amid the rise of online shopping and a sales rebound in China, with traditional markets like the U.S. and Europe lagging behind. Recent executive changes have included the planned departure of Burberry Group Plc creative head Christopher Bailey, while three of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault’s children have assumed senior management jobs at the French luxury giant.

Peekaboo Bag

Beccari, 50, transformed fur specialist Fendi into a brand with more than 1 billion euros in sales. Leaving in place designers Silvia Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld, he reinvigorated the label with eye-popping store renovations and pushed it upmarket by discontinuing logo-printed handbags in favor of luxury models like the $3,200 Peekaboo and $5,550 Baguette.

Pietro Beccari

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

He’ll take over Dior at a time when it’s more important than ever to its parent company, whose full name is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE. LVMH this year bought Christian Dior Couture for 6.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion), bringing the brand’s fashion and accessories business under the same umbrella as the LVMH-owned perfume business for the first time since the 1960s.

LVMH laid the groundwork this year for Toledano’s succession with several executive changes. Among them, Nicola Brandolese, who most recently served as president of retail at Italian eyewear retailer Luxottica Group SpA, joined the maker of Louis Vuitton bags and Dom Perignon Champagne for an unspecified role on June 1. He began by shadowing Beccari at Fendi, people familiar with the situation said in July.

LVMH shares were down 0.8 percent at 3:40 p.m. in Paris.

Toledano joined Dior in 1994 and became CEO in 1998. In 2011, he fired Galliano after the head designer was filmed uttering anti-Semitic comments in a Paris cafe. The Dior chief maintained growth amid the successive departures of Slimane and Galliano, as well as Raf Simons, the Belgian designer who left in 2015 after three and a half years.

‘One Dior’

The Dior merger created a mega-brand with combined of sales of more than 5 billion euros a year, according to Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca. The project is known internally as “One Dior.”

Pierre-Yves Roussel, the LVMH Fashion Group’s current chief, will stay on at LVMH as a special adviser to Arnault, the statement said.

The LVMH chief, 68, has yet to detail his own succession plan. Eldest daughter Delphine, 42, climbed the ranks at Dior before becoming director and executive vice president at Louis Vuitton, while son Antoine, 40, is CEO of Berluti and president of Loro Piana. Alexandre was named co-CEO of the Rimowa suitcase brand last year at the age of 24. LVMH brands including Celine, Loro Piana and Loewe recently named new heads.

— With assistance by Manuel Baigorri

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