Louis Vuitton has picked a successor to outgoing chief executive Yves Carcelle. And no, it is not some high-profile corporate honcho.
LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton SA surprised many industry watchers by selecting a relative unknown from a Spanish yoghurt company to run its Louis Vuitton brand. Jordi Constans, an executive from Spanish firm Danone is all set to succeed 63-year-old Carcelle when the latter relinquishes his post in 2012. Constans will have his work cut out as he makes the transition from selling $1 dairy products to marketing $1,000 designer handbags.
The 47-year-old Constans will have big shoes to fill. Present chief executive Carcelle took over the top job in 1990. He then proceeded to transform the trunk maker into one of the premier luxury fashion brands of the world. He is part of the Louis Vuitton creative team that plans launches. He has also become well-known within the industry by showing up at runway shows and other events. By contrast, Constans has so far preferred to remain behind the scenes. This could change once he takes over as the chief executive of Louis Vuitton. The label is currently valued at $8 billion and is the biggest revenue source for parent company LVMH.
Constans’ mass-market background should prove helpful as he readies to take over the reins at Louis Vuitton. Even Carcelle formerly worked in home textiles, another mass-market business. Constans, of course, still has time to learn the ropes. Over the next one year, Constans will remain by Carcelle’s side learning the ins and outs of Louis Vuitton’s luxury business.