By  on October 8, 2012

PARIS — Despite the drama surrounding her September nomination as nonexecutive president of Lacoste SA, Sophie Lacoste Dournel said it’s business as usual at the firm best known for its polo shirts with a crocodile logo.

Her principal focus going forward will be to grow the brand’s women’s business and improve synergies between Lacoste’s manufacturing partners, she said.

Lacoste Dournel’s election made headlines in France due to a conflict between the family that controls the firm — some 20 members of the Lacoste family from three generations make up the advisory board, and own 65 percent of Lacoste SA — pitting her head-to-head with her older cousin, Marie-Beryl Lacoste Hamilton, and dividing the family.

It seems the conflict was largely generational. The 36-year-old Lacoste Dournel has been on the company’s board since 2005, is part of the second generation of the current family shareholder structure and is a granddaughter of founder René Lacoste. Her father, Michel Lacoste, who was the previous president, has resigned from the board and is threatening to take legal action against his estranged daughter’s nomination. He had taken over from his brother Bernard in 2005, after the latter, who had been at the helm of the firm since 1963, became ill.

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