LVMH Names New COO and new Watch, Jewelry President

LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), Paris, the world’s leading luxury products group, has made several changes in its top executive posts.

All the appointments, announced April 17, are intended to ”strengthen [LVMH’s] management team to meet the demands of its increasingly international business focus and growth,” said a spokesperson. More than 80% of LVMH sales-which grew 30% in 2000-come from international markets. The executive appointments of LVMH-including its first-ever chief operating officer and a new president for its watch and jewelry businesses-are part of the luxury goods group’s long-term strategy to support its increasingly international business focus and growth with a stronger management team.  

‘As LVMH continues to grow and expand its position as the global leader in luxury products,” says Myron Ullman, group managing director, ”broadening our senior management team has become one of our top priorities.” 

The new appointments include Antonio Belloni, previously president of Procter & Gamble’s European operations, as LVMH’s chief operating officer, a newly created position, and Philippe Pascal, previously president of LVMH’s Wines & Spirits Group, as the new president of its Watch & Jewelry group.

Belloni, an Italian, is a 22-year veteran of the global consumer products company, Procter & Gamble. He began his career at P&G in Italy in 1978 and subsequently held positions in Switzerland, Greece, Belgium and the United States, before becoming managing director for P&G’s Italian operations and then in 1999, president of its European division. 

Commenting on Belloni’s appointment, Ullman-to whom he will report-noted that ”as an Italian native who has spent his professional career working for a U.S.-based global company with assignments throughout Europe, [Belloni] is well qualified for his new role at LVMH. His multicultural marketing expertise and innovative approach will be of tremendous value to LVMH’s executive committee as we aggressively pursue our strategic objectives. [LVMH chairman] Bernard Arnault and I look forward to working closely with him in overseeing the group’s business activities.”

Philippe Pascal, president since 1999 of LVMH’s Wines & Spirits Group and of Moët Hennessy, replaces Christian Viros as president of the Watch & Jewelry group. Viros has overseen it since LVMH formed the division in late 1999, after buying TAG Heuer, the prestigious Swiss watch brand for which Viros was chief executive officer. 

According to LVMH officials, Viros indicated earlier this year that he wanted “a change of pace in his lifestyle [and] to take a less active management role within the group.” However, he will keep close links with LVMH, becoming a director as well as LVMH representative to the board of the pending new De Beers joint venture-Pascal will also join the board of the De Beers joint venture-and those of the DFS Group, and Miami Cruiseline Services.

Ullman cited Pascal’s ”impressive track record of brand building in the luxury sector,” noting LVMH’s ”strong market position in the upscale champagne and cognac businesses is [due to] his skill in managing talented teams. 

”We look forward to seeing Philippe at the head of our LVMH Watch & Jewelry business-one of the group’s most promising segments in the luxury industry.”

As for Viros, Ullman praised his contributions to LVMH’s watch and jewelry businesses and said he is ”delighted that he will continue to work with the group and contribute to its growth in a number of important activities.”

Replacing Pascale as president of the Wines & Spirits Group is Christophe Navarre, previously president of Hennessy, where he has led a successful repositioning of the company, fostering strong growth in turnover and profits and increasing market share within the cognac industry.

The appointments of Pascal and Christophe Navarre, said Ullman, indicate that ”the depth of our talent in the wine and spirits sector is impressive [and] reflect [LVMH’s] ability to link promotion and internal mobility of talent with the external experience of managers from complementary cultures.”