PARIS — Signaling a commitment to grow its smaller brands and turn them into stars, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has promoted Pierre-Yves Roussel to chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH fashion division, a new post.

In the position, Roussel oversees the fashion houses Celine, Givenchy, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Pucci and Berluti, plus shoemaker Rossi Moda and the sourcing entities Kami and Interlux.

He was previously LVMH’s executive vice president, strategy and operations, and already had played a behind-the-scenes role in fine-tuning management and creative teams at several of those fashion houses, driving them toward profitability. Last year alone, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo and Celine all named new ceo’s.

It is understood that brand ceo’s report to Roussel, and he continues to report to LVMH chairman and ceo Bernard Arnault. Roussel, 41, is also a member of the group’s executive committee.

He quietly joined the French luxury group in 2004 from the French consumer consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in Paris, which has LVMH among its clients. A graduate of the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania, Roussel also has worked for McKinsey in New York and Hong Kong.

At LVMH, Roussel has been a low-key figure, but charged with the vital task of improving the fortunes of its smaller fashion franchises, which operate in the shadow of major names such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Fendi.

HSBC has an overweight rating on LVMH’s stock. Specific risks to its rating include “failure in developing/turning around the group’s second-tier brands,” HSBC analysts Antoine Belge and Erwan Rambourg wrote in a recent research note.

This story first appeared in the January 8, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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