PARIS — Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault had an early Christmas present for staff at the Kering Foundation, telling guests at a party celebrating the institution’s 10th anniversary that he had decided to double its budget from next year.
Pinault, who is also chairman of the Kering Foundation, had gathered top executives — including the ceo’s of Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Pomellato — at the group’s headquarters in Paris to mark the first decade of its effort to combat violence against women, though he said it was too early to jubilate.
“I hope one day we will be able to finally celebrate the total eradication of this scourge, but we’re not at that stage yet and there is much left to do. There are still far too many victims of violence. These victims come from all backgrounds: They are on the other side of the world, but they are also across the hall,” he said.
The foundation’s budget will increase to 2 million euros per year, according to Kering officials.
Noting that one in three women worldwide are victims of violence, Pinault said the organization would use some of the additional funds to expand its prevention efforts. As an example, it supports Gendes, a Mexico-based non-governmental organization that works with men on the topic of “healthy masculinity.”
The executive paid homage to officials in attendance including Céline Bonnaire, executive director of the Kering Foundation, since its inception; Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs, and Laurent Claquin, head of Kering Americas.
He also singled out Stella McCartney, who sits on the foundation’s board of directors, saying she had “always been a source of inspiration” for the group. McCartney, who was not present, is in the process of buying back Kering’s 50 percent stake in her brand after 17 years in partnership with the group.
The evening was a festive but sober affair, capped by a concert by Inna Modja. After his speech, Pinault handed the floor to a British woman, who asked to be identified as Kathryn, who delivered a harrowing account of how she survived an abusive relationship with the help of Women’s Aid.
Addressing the crowd, Sara D’Arcy, media relations officer at Women’s Aid, said outreach was crucial to sensitize officials and the public to the issue of domestic abuse. “We want to ensure that whoever a woman speaks out to, that she receives the right response the first time she speaks out and reaches out for help,” she said.