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What Leena Nair said after becoming Chanel's first Indian-origin global CEO

Leena Nair, the new Chanel boss, was Unilever’s first woman, first Asian and youngest Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).

December 16, 2021 / 05:22 PM IST

Leena Nair, the new CEO of Chanel, said she is “humbled and honoured” to be appointed to the top post at the French luxury fashion house. The group on Tuesday named Nair as its new Global Chief Executive, based in London.

“I am humbled and honoured to be appointed the Global Chief Executive Officer of CHANEL, an iconic and admired company. I am so inspired by what Chanel stands for,” Nair said in social media posts.

“It is a company that believes in the freedom of creation, in cultivating human potential and in acting to have a positive impact in the world.”

Nair joins the ranks of Indian-origin executives such as Parag Agrawal, Sundar Pichai and Sadya Nadella, helming global companies.

In her previous role, Nair, 52, was Unilever’s Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), becoming the FMCG major’s first woman, first Asian and youngest person to hold that post. She spent nearly 30 years at Unilever, starting out as a management trainee.


“I am grateful for my long career at Unilever, a place that has been my home for 30 years. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to a truly purpose-driven organisation. I will always be a proud advocate of Unilever and its ambition to make sustainable living commonplace,” Nair said.

She joined Hindustan Unilever in 1992 after graduating from one of the top B-schools India - the Xavier School of Management - with a gold medal.

Leena Nair completed her schooling in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur before she earned a degree in electronics engineering from Walchand College of Engineering in Maharashtra’s Sangli.

In the early years of her career, she began working at different factories of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in West Bengal capital Kolkata, Tamil Nadu's Ambattur and Maharashtra's Taloja.

In 1996, she was was appointed as Employee Relations Manager by HUL, and elevated as HR manager of Hindustan Lever India by 2000.

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Shylaja Varma
first published: Dec 15, 2021 09:00 am
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