Moneycontrol

Budget 2023Budget 2023
Register Now : Nifty Banker 3.0 | India's First Retail Index Traders Online Conference.
Budget 2023
Budget 2023

Chanel CEO Leena Nair: Privileged to get opportunities to break taboos and glass ceilings

Leena Nair recounts her journey from Kolhapur to London, from factory shop floors in India to the glamorous headquarters of a storied luxury brand. It is a story peppered with sceptical family members and conservative small-town norms, making her success spectacular.

February 25, 2022 / 11:28 AM IST
Chanel's Global CEO Leena Nair recalls growing up in Kolhapur at a time when the number of things girls were told they could not do exceeded what they were allowed to do.

Chanel's Global CEO Leena Nair recalls growing up in Kolhapur at a time when the number of things girls were told they could not do exceeded what they were allowed to do.

Last December, global luxury goods powerhouse Chanel announced that Unilever's chief human resources officer (CHRO) Leena Nair would become its global chief executive officer. Nair is an executive with an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur in India and spent three decades at Unilever, per LinkedIn.

At Chanel, Nair manages a workforce of around 28,000 people globally. Though it is not unusual for executives from consumer goods companies to join luxury brands, Nair’s career is packed with uncoventional moves.

The beginning

Nair comes from a rather conservative community in Kolhapur, where women were educated to a certain level before being married off. A graduate of electronics and telecommunications engineering from Walchand college in Sangli, she remembers how the small-town culture wasn’t conducive to women harbouring big dreams, particularly big corporate dreams.