In an internal memo to staff sent on June 1, Bernard Arnault announced the appointment, saying it was a response to increased interest in the parent company of brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Guerlain, Bulgari and Sephora.
Underlining the success of the group, which last year supplanted petrol-maker Total as the number-one ranked stock by market capitalization on France’s CAC 40 stock market index, Arnault noted LVMH was coming under closer scrutiny from the media, observers, public authorities and the general public, especially on social media.
“In order to address this increased exposure and further enhance the evaluation of the group’s achievements, I have decided to strengthen the organization of our communication,” the chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH said, according to a copy of the memo obtained by WWD. This confirmed a Bloomberg report.
At 41, Antoine Arnault will add the new responsibilities to his existing roles as ceo of high-end men’s wear brand Berluti and chairman of Italian luxury house Loro Piana. “He will oversee all communication agencies working for the group and will promote a global strategy that will benefit everyone,” Bernard Arnault said.
The nomination follows the appointment last year of Jean-Charles Tréhan as external relations director of the group, as part of the ongoing efforts to bolster its internal communications structure. Tréhan will continue to report to Arnault.
The group’s communications officially fall under the remit of Nicolas Bazire, the managing director of Groupe Arnault, the investment firm controlled by the Arnault family. A member of the LVMH board of directors and executive committee, Bazire is in charge of development and acquisitions at the group.
An affable and enthusiastic executive, Antoine Arnault started his career with Internet start-up domainoo.com. He joined Vuitton in 2002, working in its marketing department and overseeing stores in the French provinces. He has been a member of LVMH’s board since 2006.
He was named Vuitton’s communications director in 2007, widening its advertising footprint to television and movie theaters, and expanding its online presence. He was named ceo of Berluti in 2011, while continuing as an adviser to Vuitton on communications.
That year, he also spearheaded an LVMH-wide initiative called Journées Particulières, inviting the public to visit European workshops across the group’s various business divisions, giving a behind-the-scenes insight into how jewelry, leather goods, Champagne and other products are made.
He was made chairman of Loro Piana in 2013, following LVMH’s acquisition earlier that year of an 80 percent stake in the cashmere specialist for 2 billion euros.
The appointment adds to the list of growing responsibilities for the children of Bernard Arnault, 69.
Delphine Arnault, Antoine’s 43-year-old sister, is second-in-command at Louis Vuitton, the largest and most profitable brand in the family-controlled group, and is a key force behind the annual LVMH Prize for Young Designers.
Bernard Arnault also has three younger children with his second wife, Canadian pianist Hélène Mercier. Alexandre Arnault is co-ceo of German luggage maker Rimowa, while Frédéric Arnault joined watchmaker Hublot in September as head of connected technologies.