The 52-year-old was working with Unilever as the global CHRO and her career there spanned for 30 years. She is an Indian-origin British national and has now joined the list of the growing number of Indian-origin corporate executives heading world’s leading companies.
Taking to her social media account, she wrote, “I am humbled and honoured to be appointed the Global Chief Executive Officer of Chanel, an iconic and admired company. I am so inspired by what Chanel stands for. It is a company that believes in the freedom of creation, in cultivating human potential and in acting to have a positive impact in the world.⠀ I am grateful for my long career at Unilever, a place that has been my home for 30 years. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to a truly purpose-driven organisation. I will always be a proud advocate of Unilever and its ambition to make sustainable living commonplace.”
Under her leadership, Unilever was named the number one FMCG graduate employer of choice in 54 countries. She headed the Diversity and Inclusion agenda for the organization ensuring that its workforce is diverse and inclusive. Nair is also an advocate for human-centered workplaces and compassionate leadership.
She hails from Kolhapur in Maharashtra and did her schooling from Holy Cross Convent High School. Leena graduated from XLRI and was a gold medalist.
Before Leena, US businesswoman Maureen Chiquet was the CEO of the brand for nine years until she was terminated in 2016. French billionaire Alain Wertheimer, a 73-year-old who owns Chanel with his brother Gerard Wertheimer had taken over the CEO job on a temporary basis.
Chanel was founded in 1910 by fashion legend Gabrielle Coco Chanel as a hat boutique on rue Cambon in Paris and grew to become a byword for French chic.