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How Chanel boss Leena Nair handled Pakistan recruitment for Unilever

Leena Nair was the chief human resources officer (CHRO) at Unilever and had spent three decades in the company before her big move to Chanel.

February 25, 2022 / 08:11 PM IST
Leena Nair is Chanel’s first Indian-origin boss. (Image via Instagram)

Leena Nair is Chanel’s first Indian-origin boss. (Image via Instagram)

For Chanel CEO Leena Nair life was not a cakewalk. She comes from a rather conservative community in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur where women were made to get married after a certain point. So when she had to recruit women at Unilever Pakistan stores, Nair knew convincing conservative families was not going to be easy.

But her struggle to break the glass ceilings and do something quite unheard of in her small town 35 years ago nudged her in the right direction when it came to recruiting women in the rather-conservative Pakistan.

52-year-old Nair had a unique plan when it came to hiring women in Pakistan. When women were hired for shops in Pakistan, their families were invited to stay with them for a few days so that they are at peace about their daughter’s security.

“When we hire women for the shop floor, we invite their families to come and stay with them for a few days and experience how the shop floor works. This ensures that they are at peace about the safety of their daughters. Putting such policies into place is more the play of EQ,” Leena Nair said.

Nair also says that she has a lot of ideas to offer to women willing to join the corporate world. Women must emphasize emotional intelligence – a key leadership skill, she adds. The way she handled Pakistan women hires paints the full picture.

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Nair was the chief human resources officer (CHRO) at Unilever and had spent three decades in the company before her big move to Chanel.



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