Dior chief steps aside in LVMH shake-up

A look from the 2018 cruise collection (above) by Dior, which was helmed by Mr Sidney Toledano (below right) for almost 20 years. He will now oversee smaller brands at LVMH.
A look from the 2018 cruise collection by Dior, which was helmed by Mr Sidney Toledano (above) for almost 20 years. He will now oversee smaller brands at LVMH.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

Fendi's Pietro Beccari to replace Sidney Toledano as French luxury giant shuffles leadership

PARIS • A new high-flyer has landed on the runway of LVMH's Christian Dior.

Mr Sidney Toledano will step aside as head, ending an almost 20-year tenure at the helm of one of the world's top fashion houses as the luxury conglomerate rejuvenates its executive ranks.

Mr Pietro Beccari, chief executive of LVMH-owned fashion brand Fendi, will become the chief executive of Christian Dior Couture early next year, the Paris-based company said on Wednesday.

Mr Toledano will move to a supervisory role as chief of the LVMH Fashion Group, overseeing smaller brands including Loewe, Kenzo and Celine.

The shift ends an era for Dior and its parent after two decades in which Mr Toledano acted as a steady hand as designers such as John Galliano made the news with their creations and, sometimes, behaviour.

The 66-year-old presided over the rapid growth and transformation of a fashion house known for dressing actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly and actress Marlene Dietrich, relaunching its menswear line under Hedi Slimane.

Across the fashion industry, new blood is stepping into executive ranks amid the rise of online shopping and a sales rebound in China, with traditional markets such as the United States and Europe lagging behind.

A look from the 2018 cruise collection (above) by Dior, which was helmed by Mr Sidney Toledano (below right) for almost 20 years. He will now oversee smaller brands at LVMH.
A look from the 2018 cruise collection (above) by Dior, which was helmed by Mr Sidney Toledano for almost 20 years. 

Recent executive changes have included the planned departure of Burberry Group creative head Christopher Bailey, while three of LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault's children have assumed senior management jobs at the French luxury giant.

Mr Beccari, 50, transformed fur specialist Fendi into a brand with more than €1 billion (S$1.6 billion) in sales. Leaving in place designers Silvia Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld, he reinvigorated the label with eye-popping store renovations and pushed it upmarket by discontinuing logo-printed handbags in favour of luxury models such as the US$3,200 (S$4,360) Peekaboo and US$5,550 Baguette.

He will take over Dior at a time more important than ever to its parent company.

LVMH this year bought Christian Dior Couture for €6.5 billion, bringing the brand's fashion and accessories business under the same umbrella as the LVMH-owned perfume business for the first time since the 1960s.

LVMH laid the groundwork this year for Mr Toledano's succession with several executive changes.

Among them, Mr Nicola Brandolese - who most recently served as president of retail at Italian eyewear retailer Luxottica Group - joined the maker of Louis Vuitton bags and Dom Perignon Champagne for an unspecified role on June 1.

He began by shadowing Mr Beccari at Fendi, people familiar with the situation said in July.

Mr Toledano joined Dior in 1994 and became chief executive in 1998.

In 2011, he fired Galliano after the head designer was filmed uttering anti-Semitic comments in a Paris cafe. The Dior chief maintained growth amid the departures of Slimane and Galliano as well as Raf Simons, who left in 2015 after 31/2 years.

Mr Arnault, 68, has yet to detail his own succession plan.

His eldest daughter Delphine, 42, climbed the ranks at Dior before becoming director and executive vice-president at Louis Vuitton.

Son Antoine, 40, is chief executive of Berluti and president of Loro Piana. Son Alexandre was named co-chief executive of the Rimowa suitcase brand last year at age 24.

LVMH brands, including Celine, Loro Piana and Loewe, recently named new heads too.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2017, with the headline 'Dior chief steps aside in LVMH shake-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe