PARIS — Emma Watson has joined Kering’s board, becoming the chair of its sustainability committee, the luxury group said Tuesday.
The British actress is joining the board alongside Tidjane Thiam, who will chair the audit committee, and Jean Liu, both of whom are also well-known figures. The luxury group said it seeks to expand its expertise, improve understanding of the group’s markets and represent a diversity of experience on the board. Two board positions were created.
“The collective intelligence that comes from diverse points of view and the richness of different experiences are crucial to the future of our organization,” François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“I am proud to add such impressive talents to the team,” he added.
An actor and activist, Watson, 30, is known for her role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” movies as well as Belle in the live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” Appointed a United Nations Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2014, she spoke at the U.N., launching the HeForShe campaign, calling for men to advocate for gender equality.
She has also promoted a sustainable approach to fashion over the years.
In 2011, as reported by WWD, she teamed with Alberta Ferretti on a green collection that carried inspiration from Jane Birkin in the Seventies. “I believe this is a big step forward for all of the international fashion industry, but also an important step for an increased sensitivity to the problem of ecology,” she said at the time.
The cinema star has come to be associated with sustainable fashion on the red carpet, using the platform to throw the spotlight on recycled fabrics.
Kering highlighted her commitment to sustainability issues as well as women’s issues.
Watson is a non-independent board member — the other two are listed as independent board members.
President of DiDi Chuxing, a Chinese transport company based in Beijing, Liu, 41, who is Chinese, brings expertise in new technologies as well as the Chinese market. She has also been active promoting women in the field of technology as well as the sharing economy sector.
Thiam, 56, was ceo of Credit Suisse Group from 2015 to February this year. In April, he was appointed special envoy on COVID-19 for the African Union. He is a national of France and Côte D’Ivoire.
The three new appointees were proposed to shareholders in March, and approved at the annual general meeting, which was presented online on Tuesday.
Executives said the company had been on a strong trajectory before the coronavirus struck, and noted that activity is resuming after strict lockdown periods.
“A bit less than 20 percent of our stores are still closed, mostly in the Americas and Europe, our production and logistics facilities have resumed activity, strictly adhering to health and safety precautions for our employees,” said Jean-François Palus, group managing director.
Pinault noted that the company is in a position to make an acquisition, if the right opportunity arises.
“We have the financial and operational resources needed to seize external growth opportunities — if, of course, they meet our strict criteria when it comes to financial discipline,” Pinault said.