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MILAN — Delphine Arnault, the daughter of luxury titan Bernard Arnault and Dior’s deputy general manager since 2008, is moving to Louis Vuitton, WWD has learned.
She is to start in September as deputy general manger and report to chief executive officer Michael Burke, who started last December at the leather goods powerhouse, following stints as ceo at Bulgari and Fendi.
Burke has initiated an upscaling drive to secure Vuitton’s brand positioning and leadership, and will no doubt leverage Arnault’s expertise in accessories and high-end leather.
It is understood Arnault will take over duties previously handled by Vuitton’s executive vice president Pietro Beccari, who in February 2012 become chairman and ceo of Fendi, succeeding Burke, but her remit will be larger.
Reached Monday evening, an LVMH spokesman declined to comment.
That a member of the Arnault family, the controlling shareholder of LVMH, is becoming second-in-command at the luxury group’s largest company is a strong signal that Vuitton will get the resources and management attention needed to sustain its growth.
Delphine’s brother, Antoine, was director of communications at Vuitton until 2011, when he left to become ceo of Berluti, an elite cobbler he is transforming into an elite lifestyle brand for men offering broad ranges of apparel and accessories, in addition to shoes.
The moves signals that the siblings, Bernard Arnault’s eldest children, are being groomed to take on even larger roles at the group in the future.
Since 2003, Delphine Arnault has been on the board of directors of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where her father is chairman and ceo.
A graduate of EDHEC Business School in Lille and the London School of Economics, Delphine Arnault started her career at McKinsey, the consulting firm.
Within LVMH, she was in charge at business development at John Galliano for a year before moving over to Dior as commercial director in 2001. She has served as a director for many other group brands, including Emilio Pucci, Loewe and Céline.
She is said to have a strong rapport with designers across the group, including Vuitton’s Marc Jacobs, Céline’s Phoebe Philo and Givenchy’s couturier Riccardo Tisci. She has also worked for several years with Burke when he was worldwide managing director of Christian Dior Couture in Paris.
Earlier this year, she was elected to the board of directors of 21st Century Fox, and she also sits on the board of French media player Groupe M6.
A friendly, yet discrete executive, Arnault rarely gives interviews, leaving the spotlight to Dior ceo Sidney Toledano and its three designers — women’s creative director Raf Simons, Dior Homme creative director Kris Van Assche, and fine jewelry designer Victoire de Castellane.
It is understood Arnault is involved in most facets of the Dior business, with a particular focus on accessories and leather goods, having learned the ins and outs of that metier at Toledano’s elbow. In 2011, she was on the front lines promoting a vivid accessories line Dior made incollaboration with German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle.
This story first appeared in the June 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.