PARIS — While cement and silk don’t exactly mix, Hermes International has appointed concrete industry executive Alain Bucaille managing director, effective June 16.
Bucaille, 45, is director of technological research and innovation for the Lafarge Group, a prominent supplier of concrete and other construction materials.
At Hermes, he succeeds Patrick Thomas, who left the company at the end of last month after eight years to join Lancaster Group as president and executive vice president of its parent, Coty Inc.
“I am replacing one remarkable man with another,” Hermes chairman Jean-Louis Dumas told WWD. Bucaille has no experience in luxury goods, and Dumas likes it that way. He explained that Thomas came to Hermes from the Pernod Ricard beverage group and that other top executives were hired from companies outside the fashion or luxury goods sector.
Dumas said he prefers bringing knowledgeable executives from unrelated industries to his company who can offer Hermes new ideas, “and not recipes taken from others.”
Bucaille and Dumas met in 1989 when Dumas was heading a government sub-commission on corporate and industrial innovation for France’s 10th Plan, an economic agenda for the country. Bucaille, who held various posts at the French Minister of Industry from 1977 to 1990, was Dumas’s government point-person for the mission. Bucaille joined Lafarge, a maker of concrete and other construction materials, in 1990 as development director of the Lafarge Fondu subsidiary.
Bucaille could not be reached for comment.
Dumas was eager to speak about his new number two executive, but he could not provide details on plans for Hermes’s women’s fashion team or a successor to Claude Brouet, women’s fashion director, who retired recently. He said that news on the fashion front could be expected “soon.”

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