Underscoring how closely fashion remains tethered to the art world, Chanel said it has named Yana Peel as its new global head of arts and culture, a new post.
Peel is perhaps best known for serving as the chief executive officer of the Serpentine Galleries in London from 2016 to 2019.
She will be based in London and report to Alain Wertheimer, chief executive officer of Chanel.
According to a statement, Peel’s mission will be to “further propel the voice, standing and influence of Chanel as a brand and a company, in the world. Yana will expand Chanel’s collaboration with the arts and culture communities, spearheading exciting and stimulating new projects, as well as producing the next generation of our brand culture programs, building on what Chanel has already done.”
Before taking the top job at The Serpentine in 2016, Peel co-founded the Outset Contemporary Art Fund. She holds board and advisory positions at the Tate International Council, British Fashion Council and the American Ballet Theatre. She is also director of Intelligence Squared Group, a forum for live debate, and was its ceo until 2015.
During her tenure at The Serpentine, she helped to promote a more inclusive attitude in the art world, enhanced The Serpentine’s “free art for all” ethos and cemented partnerships with fashion and technology companies such as Google Arts & Culture, Grace Wales Bonner and Roksanda.
She stepped down from the gallery last summer after The Guardian newspaper reported that she and her husband co-owned shares in Novalpina Capital Group Sarl, a stakeholder in NSO Group, which had been accused of licensing and selling surveillance software.
After resigning her post, she said she was “saddened to find myself in this position. I have dedicated the majority of my professional life to public service in the cultural sector.” At the time, the board of the Serpentine Galleries said that Peel had done an “exemplary job furthering the mission, visibility and financial standing of the Serpentine.”
Born in Russia, Peel attended McGill University in Montreal and completed a post-graduate degree in economics at London School of Economics, and started her career at Goldman Sachs.