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Who is Chanel’s new Indian-origin CEO, Leena Nair?

Nair, 52, began her career at Unilever in 1992 as a management trainee. She steadily advanced through the ranks of Unilever, eventually becoming the company’s “first female, first Asian, and youngest ever” Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) in 2016. She also served on the Unilever Leadership Executive Committee (ULE).

She previously worked for the British government’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy as a non-executive director.

Image credits: Hindustan times

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“Throughout her career at Unilever, Leena has been a pioneer, but none more so than in her role as CHRO, where she has been a driving force on our equity, diversity, and inclusion agenda, on the transformation of our leadership development, and on our preparedness for the future of work,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a statement announcing her departure.

Nair was born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, and attended Walchand College in Sangli to study electronics and telecommunications engineering. She received a gold medal for her MBA in Human Resources from XLRI, Jamshedpur, in 1992. She worked in three separate factories in Kolkata, Ambattur, Tamil Nadu, and Taloja, Maharashtra, shortly after graduation.

British national Nair, who featured in Fortune magazine’s 2021 list of most powerful women, is widely praised for her people-focused approach to business. “When you look after your people, they will look after the business,” she told the magazine.

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Nair is the second woman of Indian origin after Pepsico’s former chief Indra Nooyi — who is also coincidentally her mentor — to take over as global CEO of a company.

Leena Nair, a British national who was named to Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful women in 2021, is known for her people-oriented approach to business. “If you take care of your people, they will take care of the business,” she told the publication.

After Pepsico’s former CEO Indra Nooyi — who also happens to be her mentor — Leena Nair is the second woman of Indian heritage to take over as the worldwide CEO of a firm.

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Chanel has named Leena Nair as its new global CEO. She previously worked at Unilever as the company’s top HR executive. Leena Nair joins a growing list of Indian-origin CEOs who have risen to the top of some of the world’s most prestigious corporations in recent years.

The news comes as the designer label undergoes a quick internal transition in order to deal with a pandemic-related decline. The consumer goods veteran worked for Unilever for nearly 30 years, most recently as the company’s chief of human resources and a member of the executive committee.

Nair will join Chanel at the end of January and will be based in London, according to a statement released by the firm. It went on to say that the new hires would safeguard the company’s “long-term success as a private enterprise.”

Chanel’s unique move to appoint a fashion industry outsider as its new CEO is considered as part of the company’s expanding efforts to demonstrate a more inclusive approach.

Chanel’s unique move to appoint a fashion industry outsider as its new CEO is considered as part of the company’s expanding efforts to demonstrate a more inclusive approach.

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