PARIS — The Hermès family has appointed Julie Guerrand president of a newly created nonlisted holding company owning more than 50 percent of Hermès International’s share capital, it said Wednesday.
This story first appeared in the December 16, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Guerrand belongs to the sixth generation of heirs to Thierry Hermès, who founded the company in 1837. Earlier this year, she took over as director of corporate development in charge of investments and coordination missions at the firm, reporting to Mireille Maury, managing director of finance and administration.
Hermès said it completed the creation of the holding company, dubbed H51, on Dec. 12 and 13. The previously announced move by the luxury house is designed to protect it from a potential takeover bid by its unwanted suitor, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which now owns 21.4 percent of the Hermès capital.
“The creation of this structure confirms the family’s unity in its commitment to defending the independence of Hermès, to preserve its values and its culture,” Hermès stated.
The holding firm held its first meeting Tuesday. Its board is made up of Bertrand Puech, the executive chairman of Emile Hermès Sarl, which represents the family shareholders; Axel Dumas, managing director of the saddle and leather métier; Laurent Mommeja, the former head of the U.S. subsidiary of Hermès; Eric de Seynes, chief executive officer of Yamaha Motor France, and Hermès International supervisory board member Charles-Eric Bauer, a spokeswoman for Hermès said.
Hermès said it would not be launching an offer for outstanding shares as part of the operation, having won an exemption from stock market authority AMF, which was upheld by a French Court of Appeal ruling on Sept. 15, after minority shareholders had objected to the AMF decision.
Members of the Hermès family have granted the holding group priority rights to purchase an additional 12.3 percent of the capital of Hermès International, it added.