PARIS — Valérie Messika, founder of French jewelry label Messika, and Eléonore de Boysson, region president of Europe and Middle East at DFS Group, are among the 547 new inductees of the Légion d’Honneur’s annual New Year decree, which was published by France’s Journal Officiel on Saturday.
The civilian distinction is handed out twice a year, on Jan. 1 and July 14, and has a requirement of a minimum of 20 years of activity. Honorees are listed according to the ministry that oversees their field.
Messika was distinguished as founder and general manager of a jewelry house, in recognition of her 24-year career, while de Boysson was described as “an executive of a luxury retail group,” encompassing her tenure at DFS — which operates the newly reopened La Samaritaine department store — as well as previous experiences as senior vice president of Louis Vuitton’s store network and resort development director for Disneyland.
Both were included in the list of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, receiving the grade of Chevalier (or knight), alongside former minister of culture Fleur Pellerin, now president of investment fund Korelya Capital; businessman Xavier Niel, best known in France for founding one of its major internet service providers and who founded Paris-based incubator Station F, and Bris Rocher, chief executive officer of Groupe Rocher, which owns botanical beauty brand Yves Rocher and the Petit Bateau apparel label.
In the foreign ministry’s list is Dubai-based Sophie Doireau-Tiberghien, who became CEO for Middle East, India and Africa for jeweler Cartier last summer. She previously served as the house’s managing director for the United Arab Emirates.
Other honorees in the 2022 New Year’s cohort include artist Jean-Michel Othoniel and chefs Mauro Colagreco and Thierry Marx, who was made an officer after being inducted to the order in 2013.
France’s highest distinction, the Légion d’Honneur was established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte to recognize both civil and military merit. Its order counts some 92,000 members who received the award for “their eminent merits in service of the [French] nation.”
It has five degrees of increasing distinction, from Chevalier to Grand-Croix (grand-cross). Only French nationals can be inducted into the order, while foreigners may receive the distinction if they have rendered cultural or economic services to France, or supported causes such as human rights or humanitarian actions.
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