When European luxury brands started entering the China market en masse over a decade ago, it was easy to coast off rapid growth rates without a great deal of China expertise among the ranks of company management. That’s no longer the case now that sales numbers are stabilizing and the market is maturing, so luxury conglomerate Kering has decided to move ahead of the curve by launching a new talent development program with Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.
Today, the owner of labels including as Gucci, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent announced the start of a new executive education program in collaboration with Tsinghua and HEC Paris in order to provide tailor-made executive education for the China market. Taking its first class of 27 students to Beijing, Shanghai, and Paris for both classroom training and learning with Kering senior executives, the “Leading talent through global perspectives” program aims to deepen Kering’s talent pool when it comes to China market expertise.
“The Chinese market has huge potential and is highly competitive,” said Kering Chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault. ”Talent shortages and high employee turnover rates are key challenges facing the market.” Professor Xue Lei, the director of executive education at Tsinghua SEM, echoes this sentiment. “The rapid development of China’s luxury and fashion industry means there is an urgent need for talent with sound knowledge of the business of fashion and arts, as well as expert managerial skills,” he said. “We will continue to leverage our academic expertise to build a platform combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience, and to support international educational projects to cultivate talent for the industry.”
The goals of the 18-month program will be to improve “managerial skills, creativity, and global vision” of a group of mid-level managers from Kering’s luxury brands active in the China market, including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Boucheron, Pomellato, Stella McCartney, and Girard-Perregaux. Classes will cover topics including global brand management, digital marketing, sustainable development, and customer relationship management.
Although Kering has cooperated with both Tsinghua and HEC Paris on knowledge-sharing programs in the past, this program marks the first in-depth collaboration between the three parties. “The extensive experience of Tsinghua University and HEC Paris in delivering management education will allow our talented employees to play a bigger role in their current position and provide them with transferable skills needed to be successful in the many opportunities available at Kering and our brands,” said Pinault.