PARIS — Yves Carcelle, head of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s fashion and leather businesses, confirmed that he is taking the reins again as president and chief executive of Louis Vuitton, succeeding Marcello Bottoli, who has left the company.
This story first appeared in the December 10, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This confirms a report in these columns Monday. Carcelle will continue to oversee houses such as Givenchy, Céline and Pucci, while devoting most of his energies to Vuitton, the group’s star brand that contributes some 60 percent of operating profits.
A tireless executive who is always at his desk by 6 a.m. — if he’s not traveling abroad — Carcelle recently appointed new presidents at Donna Karan, Fendi, Loewe and Kenzo. He said this will leave him more free time to focus on Vuitton as it expands into such areas as Thailand, South Korea, China and India.
LVMH has declined all comment on the circumstances surrounding Bottoli’s departure after only about 15 months on the job.
But sources indicated Bottoli, who joined Vuitton from Dutch-Anglo consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser, was simply not a good match for the post. Although a newcomer to the fashion and luxury field, he is said to have quickly asserted himself on the creative side.
Certainly, the firm remains in ship shape. Many analysts remain bullish on LVMH based on the momentum of Vuitton.
“We remain convinced that Vuitton will at least meet our full-year sales forecast, plus 5 percent, including plus 6.5 percent in [the fourth quarter] at constant exchange rates,” Merrill Lynch luxury analyst Antoine Colonna wrote in a research note published Monday. He also noted that Japanese consumers seem willing to absorb a recent price increase in that market.
Carcelle’s role represents somewhat of a homecoming. He piloted explosive growth at Louis Vuitton throughout much of the Nineties, building it into one of the world’s largest luxury brands with margins that are the envy of the industry. He relinquished the title of Vuitton president in June 2000 to concentrate on other fashion and leather goods brands within LVMH, while always keeping close tabs on Vuitton.