PARIS — The hand over is official — and slightly earlier than anticipated.

This story first appeared in the November 20, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Monday, Jordi Constans officially became chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, taking the reins of the leather goods powerhouse from Yves Carcelle, one of the most widely admired executives in the luxury industry.

Vuitton had announced the arrival of Constans in September 2011 and said he would succeed Carcelle at the end of 2012 after spending a year familiarizing himself with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and its star, cash-cow brand.

In an internal announcement obtained by WWD, the changeover was described as coming after a year of his “increasing involvement in the management” of the company.

A Spanish national who joined Vuitton from French food giant Danone SA, Constans, 49, is also to become a member of LVMH’s executive committee.

Carcelle, who joined Vuitton from bedding firm Descamps in 1989, was named ceo of the heritage brand in 1990, piloting its global retail and product expansion.

“Over the 22 years of his tenure, Louis Vuitton has enjoyed spectacular and widely acclaimed growth to achieve its position today as the world’s leading luxury brand,” the announcement trumpeted.

Carcelle is to become vice chairman of the forthcoming Fondation Louis Vuitton, a Frank Gehry-designed art museum slated to open next year on the leafy fringes of Paris. He is also to remain on the executive committee of the luxury giant and undertake “strategic missions” alongside Bernard Arnault, its chairman and ceo.

A driven and indefatigable executive, Carcelle traveled the world to scout and realize Vuitton boutiques in such far-flung locations as Mongolia, and he took the brand into new categories of business such as ready-to-wear, eyewear, watches and fine jewelry.

Constans was executive vice president of Danone’s fresh dairy products division and a member of its executive committee. A graduate of business and economics from Barcelona’s Central University, he joined Danone in 1990 and held various positions in marketing and sales before becoming general manager for Spain in 2002 and France in 2004. Well known for its yogurts, Danone is also a giant player in bottled water and baby food.