Byline: Miles Socha

PARIS — Fortifying its top management for international growth, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton on Tuesday appointed a chief operating officer, a new post, and named new heads for its watch and jewelry group and wines and spirits operations.
Antonio Belloni, previously president of Procter & Gamble’s European operations, is the French group’s new chief operating officer, responsible for overseeing its day-to-day business operations. He starts in June and reports to Myron Ullman, LVMH’s group managing director.
Belloni, 46, is a 22-year veteran of the consumer products giant. Before being named head of P&G’s European divisions, he was managing director of its Italian operations.
According to an LVMH spokesman, Belloni’s appointment is the latest high-profile addition to the group, which has added 50 management directors over two years as it has expanded its stable of brand names. Among LVMH’s long list of fashion acquisitions over the past year were Donna Karan International, Miami Cruiseline Services, the department store Samaritaine, the fashion house Pucci and the cosmetics brand Fresh.
The spokesman also noted sales growth of 35 percent last year to $10.9 billion, as reported, and he pointed to LVMH’s international character, with more than 80 percent of sales stemming from outside of France.
Despite concerns about the first half, LVMH is bullish about the year, forecasting double-digit sales and profit growth. As reported, LVMH chief Bernard Arnault has said the group should be able to double its volume and profitability in five years by increasing market share and tapping into growing wealth in developing markets.
Meanwhile, Philippe Pascal, previously president of LVMH’s wines and spirits group and head of Moet Hennessy, was named president of the watch and jewelry group. He succeeds Christian Viros, who had indicated earlier this year his plans to take a less active management role in the group. Viros will continue to contribute to the group, however, as a director and LVMH representative on the boards of DFS, Miami Cruiseline Services and the pending De Beers joint venture.
Pascal joined LVMH in 1994 as president and chief executive officer of Veuve Clicquot.
Commenting on his appointment, Ullman said Pascal has “an impressive track record of brand building in the luxury sector. LVMH’s strong market position in the upscale champagne and cognac business is the result of his skill in managing talented teams. We look forward to seeing Philippe at the head of our LVMH watch and jewelry business, one of the group’s most promising segments.”
Operating income in the division totaled $54.9 million last year on sales of $577.2 million
Christophe Navarre, previously president of Hennessy, will assume Pascal’s position at the helm of LVMH’s wine and spirits business.