Chanel completes reorganisation becoming a British corporation
In January 2016, Maureen Chiquet, Chanel’s well-known CEO, was dismissed by the group. In the wake of this, at the publication of its annual results, Chanel said it had sold its British subsidiary to another entity held by the group. It was the start of a lengthy restructuring process for Chanel, which came to an end this year with the appointment of Alain Wertheimer as chairman of Chanel Limited, the UK-based corporation that has become the group’s parent company, as revealed by new investigative site Glitz.paris. Wertheimer and his brother Gérard co-own the controlling interest of the house.
Contacted by FashionNetwork.com, Chanel said via a spokesperson that “the decision to make Chanel Ltd an operational holding company, comprising all of [the Chanel group’s] companies, was taken in 2018 with the goal of simplifying and modernising our administrative and legal structure and decision-making hierarchy, which was until then based in New York.”
Announcing this move in 2018, Chanel explained that it had “simplified and rationalised the group’s structure by creating the Chanel Ltd holding company, based in London.” Chanel told the AFP agency that “since the summer of 2017, and as announced in June when presenting our annual results, Chanel Ltd is now the holding company for the majority of Chanel’s entities,” adding that “previously, these entities belonged to different holding companies.”
A reorganisation that has now made the label, a quintessential symbol of French luxury, a British corporation. A choice that is all the more surprising given that Chanel decided to relocate its main headquarters to the UK just as the country began to leave the European Union.
“London was the appropriate base for an international corporation. It’s the most central geographical location for our markets, its language is English, the language used within the group for all international meetings, and it has robust corporate governance regulations,” explained Chanel to FashionNetwork.com.
Chanel nevertheless emphasised that it “remains a brand whose origin is historically French, [although] the Chanel group has always had an international outlook, and is present in 110 countries, with large offices in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Geneva, Shanghai and Tokyo.” Besides, “since establishing its operational and financial headquarters in London, Chanel has continued to invest, hire and expand in France as well as in the other countries where the group is active.”
Chanel Ltd is currently owned by the Wertheimer family’s holding company, Litor, based in the Cayman Islands, as revealed by Glitz.paris, which said that the company “controls all of the group's subsidiaries worldwide and consolidates its accounts at a global level.” Chanel Ltd’s headquarters are located in a building on Bond Street, above the label’s London flagship.
In 2022, Chanel generated a revenue of $15.6 billion, with a net profit of $4 billion. Since February 2022, the Chanel empire has been run from London by Leena Nair, who was formerly with Unilever, as CEO of Chanel Ltd, with Alain Wertheimer as chairman of the group. As Glitz.paris pointed out, “Bruno Pavlovsky, president of [Chanel’s] French subsidiary, is now the only director of Chanel Ltd residing in France.”
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