Dior CEO Beccari to lead Louis Vuitton in LVMH management shuffle

Pietro Beccari will replace Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s CEO of 10 years, and Delphine Arnault has been named CEO and chairman of Dior in a major executive shakeup. 
Dior CEO Beccari to lead Louis Vuitton in LVMH management shuffle
Photos: Jacopo Raule, Jason Alden

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LVMH is starting 2023 with one of its largest executive reshuffles in years. On Wednesday, the luxury conglomerate announced Pietro Beccari, the chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, has been appointed chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, succeeding Michael Burke. Burke, who had been in the role since 2013, will take up new responsibilities, reporting directly to Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, according to a statement. 

Delphine Arnault, the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, who oversees all of its product-related activities, has been named chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, while Charles Delapalme, currently Dior’s executive vice president in charge of commercial activities, will become managing director. It marks a return to Dior for Arnault, who was at Dior between 2001 and 2013. Changes are effective 1 February. 

“Pietro Beccari has done an exceptional job at Christian Dior over the past five years,” said Bernard Arnault in the statement. “His leadership has accelerated the appeal and success of this iconic maison. Monsieur Dior’s values of elegance and his innovative spirit have been given fresh intensity, supported by very talented designers. The reinvention of the historical boutique at 30 Montaigne is emblematic of this momentum. I am sure Pietro will lead Louis Vuitton to the next level of success and desirability.”

He added: “I want to extend my warmest thanks to Michael Burke, who has led the extraordinary success of Louis Vuitton during the past 10 years. He has done a tremendous job developing this exceptional maison. He has extended Louis Vuitton’s lead over competitors and promoted the heritage of Louis Vuitton while anchoring it in modernity. [...] In addition to Louis Vuitton, he has overseen the successful integration of Tiffany within the LVMH Group.” 

Arnault also said: “Under Delphine’s leadership, the desirability of Louis Vuitton products advanced significantly, enabling the brand to regularly set new sales records. Her keen insights and incomparable experience will be decisive assets in driving the ongoing development of Christian Dior.” In December, Antoine Arnault, the eldest son of Bernard Arnault and Delphine’s brother, was appointed CEO and vice chairman of Christian Dior SE, the holding company that controls 41 per cent of the capital and 56 per cent of the voting rights in the LVMH Group. 

Charles Delapalme and Michael Burke.

Photos: Darren Gerrish, Balint Porneczi

Rumours that Beccari would depart Dior for sister brand Louis Vuitton had become more persistent in the last few weeks. At Dior, he consistently made bold moves, staging physical shows during the pandemic, building top-tier retail stores and experiences and raising the bar for flagship stores across the luxury industry with the reopening of the historical flagship. He stepped up investments for long-term growth, leveraging Dior’s iconic heritage and moving its position towards the top of the luxury pyramid. Beccari also invested heavily in digital and social media, particularly in China, and bet on markets such as South Korea. His strategy paid off: Dior’s sales quadrupled since Beccari became chairman and CEO of Dior in early 2018. Revenue went from €2.2 billion in 2017 to €8.8 billion in 2022, according to HSBC estimates. Sales grew 35 per cent in 2022, outstripping the industry average. 

Beccari, who previously played professional soccer, worked for consumer goods company Benckiser, dairy and food distributor Parmalat and consumer goods firm Henkel before joining LVMH in 2006 as executive vice president of marketing and communications for Louis Vuitton. He became chairman and CEO of Fendi in 2012 before joining Dior. The former professional athlete tells his teams that the French idiom “l’important c’est de participer”(it’s the taking part that counts”) isn’t quite right. Instead he prefers “l’important, c’est de gagner” (“what matters is to win”). 

In his 10-year tenure at Louis Vuitton, Burke, who has worked with Arnault for decades, managed to nearly triple the size of the brand. In 2013, sales were €7.1 billion. In 2022, they were €20.6 billion, according to HSBC estimates. Louis Vuitton is the world’s largest luxury house but Burke managed to preserve it from the risk of ubiquity for such a megabrand. His strategy involved a thoughtful segmentation, with a wide offer, from sneakers to €25,000 handbags in exotic skins. He also innovated by hiring two separate designers for women’s and men’s wear, and spotted design talents like Virgil Abloh and, most recently, KidSuper

Both Beccari and Arnault will have to navigate a challenging environment in the short term, including in the US, which has been a recent driver of growth for luxury. On the US market, HSBC global head of consumer and retail research Erwan Rambourg wrote a note in December: “We see signs that very high-end luxury is resilient (think Chanel), but we see reasons for the aspirational price-point segment of some brands (notably Louis Vuitton) suffering over the short term. Even Dior, a brand that has quadrupled its sales over the past four years, according to our estimates, is likely to see sales start to slow in the US.” Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture represented 26 per cent and 11 per cent of LVMH’s sales in 2022, respectively, according to HSBC estimates. Combined, they accounted for two-thirds of the group EBIT.

As part of the wide-scale reshuffle, Stéphane Bianchi, chairman and CEO of the Watches and Jewellery division, will now also oversee Tiffany and Repossi. Bernard Arnault said: “The inclusion of Tiffany in the Watches and Jewellery division is a natural step following the company’s successful integration within the LVMH Group.” 

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