Fendi Taps Longtime Dior Exec Serge Brunschwig for CEO Post

MILAN  Signaling its preference for internal promotions where possible, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has selected longtime Dior executive Serge Brunschwig to become Fendi’s chairman and chief executive officer, WWD has learned.

This confirms earlier WWD reports citing Brunschwig as a contender for the plum post. Brunschwig will report to Antonio Belloni, LVMH Group managing director.

Brunschwig succeeds Pietro Beccari, who earlier this month became chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture.

Belloni emphasized how Brunschwig “has developed extensive experience in luxury retail, operations and brand management. Over the recent years, he has played a key role in the success of Christian Dior Couture. Serge is the right leader to take the beautiful Fendi maison and its strong organization to the next level.”

Brunschwig joins the Rome-based luxury company from Dior Homme, where he has held the title of chairman and CEO since September 2015. He joined Christian Dior Couture in 2008 as chief operating officer. Low-key and methodical, Brunschwig has made a mark on Dior’s men’s business, piloting its retail network and developing the brand in ready-to-wear and accessories. Sources describe him as a bright and driven manager, with a friendly demeanor that masks a tough-as-nails approach to business.

A graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, Brunschwig joined Dior and Fendi parent group LVMH in 1995, working for Louis Vuitton and Sephora, with a particular expertise in emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East. For example, from 1995 to 1999, he headed the Vuitton business in Southeast Asia, ultimately rising to president of LVMH Fashion Group for the Asia-Pacific region.

Before joining Dior, Brunschwig in 2006 was appointed chairman and CEO of Céline, also part of LVMH.

Over the years, Brunschwig worked closely with Sidney Toledano, the former Christian Dior Couture chairman and CEO. He helped steer the French brand through an international growth phase during which it planted significant boutiques in cities such as London, Tokyo and Miami.

No doubt he also learned much from Toledano about the delicate dance with marquee fashion designers, as Dior transitioned from John Galliano to Raf Simons and now Maria Grazia Chiuri, formerly of Valentino.

At Fendi, Brunschwig will interface with Karl Lagerfeld, who has designed its furs and RTW since 1965, and Silvia Venturini Fendi, in charge of accessories and menswear.

Fendi has already pushed beyond the billion-euro revenue mark by dropping its ubiquitous logo bags in favor of more upscale products, in addition to developing lifestyle destinations like Palazzo Fendi in Rome, composed of a boutique hotel and Zuma restaurant.

Under Beccari, Fendi emphasized its roots in fur, its haute craftsmanship, and its links to the Eternal City. The company restored several fountains, including the Trevi Fountain, where a spectacular Haute Fourrure show marking the brand’s 90th anniversary was held last July. The show was a first for the Baroque monument, with a catwalk placed on the water and the closure of four neighboring streets on a busy summer day.

Beccari also invested in Fendi’s promotion of the arts, most recently inking a partnership with the Rome-based art museum Galleria Borghese.

The company is headquartered at the imposing Palazzo della Civiltà, and it offered the ground floor to the city as an exhibition space. Since 2015, more than 100,000 visitors have flocked to the venue, from young university students and families to tourists.

At Dior, Beccari succeeds Toledano, who recently took over as executive chairman of LVMH Fashion Group as part of a wide-ranging reshuffle at the parent conglomerate. Toledano succeeded Pierre-Yves Roussel, who held the title of chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, and remains a special adviser to LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault.

The heads of Céline, Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Pucci, Rossi Moda and Nicholas Kirkwood report to Toledano.

Brunschwig’s successor at Dior and Dior Homme has yet to be named.

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