The French-American Chamber of Commerce has finalized the program for its first-ever French-American Luxury Symposium.
The all-day event will be held on March 31 at the Sofitel New York. Elsa Berry, FACC’s president, said the focus is on French and American luxury brands and the turmoil facing the industry due to innovation and technology, as well as what companies might want to do to reinvent themselves.
Luca Solca, managing director for global luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, believes the three big priorities for luxury firms are adjusting to slower market growth, exploiting growth pockets and more cost and return on invested capital discipline. In his morning keynote address, Solca will explain why, as well as discuss the changes sweeping across the luxury landscape where growth prospects have been dramatically reduced in the last few years.
The program will also include several panel discussions. One of the panels will be moderated by Pauline Brown, senior lecturer of business administration at Harvard Business School. “The election and the events and unexpected turn of now leading up to it seems to be a proxy for what I’m seeing in all sorts of environments. Who would have thought that an upstart in a matter of four years could be worth more than a company around for five decades?” Brown said, noting that the takeaway from her panel — “Contemporary and Digitally Innovative Brands: What Lessons for Heritage Brands?” — is to expect the unexpected. “If you can get comfortable with change and be adaptable, you will thrive,” she concluded. One point to be addressed will be how does one define luxury today.
Frederic Cumenal, chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co., will speak on embracing heritage and innovation in a world where, for the hyperconnected modern client, being unplugged is considered the ultimate luxury.
Berry, who is also managing director and founder of Vendôme Global Partners, will lead a panel discussion about finding the right financial partner for luxury firms in the context of matching investment horizons with the longer-term cycles of luxury firms.
Lawrence Lenihan, an adjunct professor at NYU Stern School of Business and cofounder and coceo of Resonance, will tie it all up with the final keynote presentation on “Fashion and Luxury Retail: The Next 10 Years.” Lenihan, a former venture capitalist, said the key point is that “everything is different, and it’s going to happen….Many firms don’t realize that their business isn’t safe.” Part of the reason could be because they don’t realize they’re not luxury anymore, he explained.