LVMH Succession Planning: Michael Burke Departing Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault’s Daughter Becomes Head of Dior

What Happened: In a series of unexpected moves, LVMH has reshuffled some of its top executives. Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, will depart his role and take on an as-of-yet unnamed position “reporting directly” to LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault. Pietro Beccari, the head of Christian Dior Couture, will be replacing Burke as the new CEO and chairman of Louis Vuitton. 

Most notably, Bernard Arnault’s daughter Delphine Arnault will now be taking over Beccari’s role as the new chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture. Prior to this appointment, Delphine acted as executive vice president of Louis Vuitton since 2013. Burke, Beccari and Delphine will be taking over their new roles starting on February 1, according to a press release from LVMH. 

As executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, Delphine Arnault (left) serves on the jury of the LVMH Prize. Photo: LVMH

The Jing Take: With a net worth of $178 billion, LVMH head Bernard Arnault recently overtook Elon Musk as the world’s richest person. LVMH saw $56.5 billion in earnings over the first nine months of 2022, according to its Q3 reports. 

In China, sales for Louis Vuitton remained “flat” throughout much of 2022 according to reports. However, the country’s recently loosened restrictions and departure from its zero-COVID policy point to a potential recovery for the luxury industry, as domestic consumers flock to Hainan province to take advantage of the newly-opened duty-free shopping outlets, and as Chinese international tourism is anticipated to rebound over the next few months. 

In recent years, Arnault has appointed his five children as executives across a host of LVMH brands. His son Antoine heads Christian Dior SE, the holding company of Christian Dior Couture; meanwhile, Antoine’s siblings Alexandre, Frederic and Jean hold roles across Tiffany and Co., Tag Heuer, and Louis Vuitton, respectively. 

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This latest appointment of Delphine as head of Christian Dior Couture speaks to Arnault’s future plans for his family as well as the group. “Succession planning in strategic roles has been instrumental to the success of LVMH’s key brands over the past 20 years, hence today’s moves are significant,” an analyst at Citi told Reuters.

The big moves and reshuffles at LVMH are taking place amid all the recent debate about “nepotism babies,” and the privileged lifestyles and successful careers that the children of celebrities and public figures are perceived — and criticized — as having been born into. 

From Ivanka Trump’s role as senior advisor to her father former US President Donald Trump, to the rise of billionaire Samsung chairman Jay Y Lee (grandson of the group’s founder) and his 2021 acquittal of charges of bribery, and now the appointment of Delphine Arnault as head of Dior — the roles of children of prominent figures have raised questions about the nature of family empires. 

However, according to one PwC report: “One of the main goals of the family business is not the maximization of profits, but its longevity and maintenance of what it stands for.”

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


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