PARIS — Patricia Barbizet is stepping down as chief executive officer of Artémis, the investment arm of the billionaire Pinault family, after 25 years in order to launch her own business, the company said on Wednesday.
François-Henri Pinault, chairman and ceo of Kering, will take over as ceo of Artémis following Barbizet’s departure on Jan. 31, a spokeswoman for the group said. Pinault was already chairman of Artémis.
Barbizet, 62, will remain vice chairman of the board of Kering and an administrator at Artémis. She will step down from her other functions within the group, turning the page on a storied career that saw the group evolve from a timber business into one of the world’s leading luxury players.
François Pinault, father of François-Henri Pinault and founder of Artémis — whose holdings include luxury group Kering, auction house Christie’s and the Château Latour vineyard — said he wished her well.
“After 30 years of fruitful and friendly collaboration with Patricia Barbizet, I understand her wish to have her own entrepreneurial life. It goes without saying that we will support her,” he said.
The statement did not elaborate on Barbizet’s future projects.
The executive joined the Pinault Group in 1989 as its chief financial officer. She became ceo of Artémis in 1992 and then ceo of Financière Pinault in 2004. Prior to that, she was treasurer of Renault Véhicules Industriels and then cfo of Renault Crédit International.
As Pinault senior’s right-hand woman, Barbizet helped transition Pinault SA from a timber business to a diversified group through retail acquisitions in the Nineties that included French furniture retailer Conforama, department store Printemps and books-and-electronics retailer Fnac.
In 1999, the group — by then renamed Pinault-Printemps-Redoute — signaled another change of tack by snapping up a controlling stake in Italy’s Gucci Group, which also gave it ownership of Yves Saint Laurent.
This was followed by the acquisition of brands including Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga, in addition to strategic partnerships with Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. The group, now known as Kering, shed the last of its retail holdings with the sale of Fnac in 2013 and is now focusing on luxury.
Barbizet was a member of the board of directors of French industrial group Bouygues from 2005 to 2012, and chairman of the Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement investment committee from 2008 to 2013. She graduated from ESCP Business School in 1976.