Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue Store | Source: Shutterstock
LVMH has completed its acquisition of Tiffany — and is wasting no time shaking up the executive ranks of the New York-based jeweller it paid $15.8 billion for.
Louis Vuitton vice president of global commercial activities Anthony Ledru has been named Tiffany’s new chief executive, replacing Alessandro Bogliolo, who will depart later in January. The move is part of a wider executive shake up, which has also seen Rimowa head Alexandre Arnault brought on as executive vice president of product and communications, and seen Louis Vuitton chief Michael Burke appointed chairman of the Tiffany Board.
Ledru has played a pivotal role at Louis Vuitton since arriving at the leather goods brand in 2015 as chief executive of its North American operations, only to be promoted to lead global commerce two years later.
But it’s his significant experience in “hard” luxury, particularly in the US market, that made Ledru the top candidate. Not only did he lead global sales at Harry Winston, followed by two years as vice president of the North American market at Tiffany before heading to Louis Vuitton, but he also spent much of his early career rising up the ranks at Cartier, where he managed the Richemont-owned brands’ US retail network.
The experience at Tiffany is important: he knows how the business is run, and understands its US operations, which still make up a large portion of its sales. But Cartier is the business that Louis Vuitton wants most to beat. Its brand positioning and stability is unmatched by any competitor. If Cartier is the Chanel of fine jewellery, then LVMH is hoping Tiffany could become the Dior.
Tiffany has an opportunity to gain some traction. Not only is its business booming in China, but it’s under-penetrated in Europe, where Cartier sets the standard.
But while the jeweller has a strong brand that is recognised globally, it’s in need of modernisation. This is especially crucial if it’s going to resonate with the next generation of luxury customers.
In a nod to that, it’s the first place LVMH is making changes. Chief artistic director Reed Krakoff and chief brand officer Daniella Vitale will both step down from their roles as Arnault joins to oversee product.
The young son of LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault has a track record of boosting the cool credentials of tired brands. He took the helm of Rimowa after the luxury group acquired a €640 million ($774 million) majority stake in 2016, successfully turning the sleepy German luggage label into one of the most fashionable luxury status symbols on the market, with collaborations with in-demand designers and brands like Virgil Abloh and Supreme helping fuel success.
Meanwhile, both Ledru and Arnault’s ability to tap into LVMH resources — its retail real estate network and branding and marketing capabilities in particular — could help elevate Tiffany to a new competitive level. That, combined with Ledru’s understanding of the US luxury market, which has experienced a renaissance during the pandemic, puts them at a unique advantage.
Disclosure: LVMH is part of a group of investors who, together, hold a minority interest in The Business of Fashion. All investors have signed shareholders’ documentation guaranteeing BoF’s complete editorial independence.
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