LVMH Names Chris de Lapuente Chairman, CEO of Selective Retailing

Bulking up management in its selective retailing division, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has named Chris de Lapuente the branch’s chairman and chief executive officer, effective in January 2021.

A rising star in the French luxury group, best known for leading Sephora to new heights over a 10-year tenure, de Lapuente  expanded his purview in recent years to also oversee Le Bon Marché group, as well as some perfume and cosmetics activities.

LVMH had hinted in September that de Lapuente would take on additional responsibilities when Starbucks executive Martin Brok succeeded him at the management helm of Sephora.

De Lapuente’s scope will now also include DFS, Starboard & Onboard and 24S, LVMH’s online fashion site. Benjamin Vuchot, the new chairman and ceo of DFS; Lisa Bauer, chairman and ceo of Starboard & Onboard, and Eric Goguey, chairman and ceo of 24S, will report to him.

De Lapuente also remains a member of LVMH’s executive committee.

“I am delighted to have Chris enlarge his responsibilities,” Bernard Arnault, chairman and ceo of LVMH, said in an internal announcement seen by WWD. “Since he joined the group some ten years ago, he has shown tremendous leadership and an exceptional ability to deliver excellent results and develop organizations.

“His most striking success has been Sephora, which he has been turned into a global leader in prestige beauty retailing, recognized around the world as one of the most innovative brands in products and services, both in-store and online. He has also achieved remarkable success in growing new beauty brands with great potential, notably Fenty Beauty,” Arnault added.

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Under de Lapuente, sales and profits at Sephora tripled, and bolstered its omnichannel presence.

Among his chief challenges in his new role will be DFS, hard hit by global travel disruptions from the pandemic. Organic sales in LVMH’s selective retailing division were down by 31 percent in the first nine months of the year to 7.18 billion euros.

While trumpeting “good resilience” at Sephora in reporting its third-quarter results last month, LVMH noted that “DFS saw a significant decline in its activity in most destinations as a result of the suspension of international travel, which is showing no signs of improving.”

DFS’ two main markets were affected to varying degrees, with Hong Kong heavily hit while store closures in Macau lasted only two weeks in the first half. DFS has been increasing digital marketing efforts, including a partnership with WeChat.

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