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Meet Chanel's new CEO


NOVEMBER 2022

By Valentina O'Connor


Get to know Leena Nair, a Maharashtra's Kolhapur native, born in 1969. She graduated with degrees in Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunication from Walchand College, later graduating from Xavier Institute of Management with a gold medal. Ms. Nair is considered one of the most powerful women today and is widely acclaimed for creating people-oriented growth models. According to several media reports, Leena Nair is a multi-talented person and entrepreneur with a net worth of 8.5 million dollars. She has soared in the fashion industry, landing the historical position of not only the youngest CEO in Chanel's history but also the first female CEO of Chanel.


In 1992, Leena Nair started her career as a management trainee at Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL). She became the Director of Human Resources for the company in 2007. Later, she was appointed as SVP of HR Leadership and Organizational Development and Global Head of Diversity and Chief Human Resources Officer in 2016, becoming a Unilever Leadership Executive in the same year. To add to her impressive resume is notable for including that she is the second woman of Indian Origin to take over as global CEO of a company. Her mentor was the first woman of Indian Origin to take over as global CEO of a company (Indra Nooyi).


She has fought for equality in all her endeavours by helping HUL achieve a 50/50 gender balance across global leadership. She was also responsible for HULs' financial performance, its ambitious positive social impact and environmental objectives. Ranking her as one of the most popular Business People and elite list of celebrities born in India. Due to all of her achievements received the following impressive awards and recognition:

  • Role Model of the Year - The Great British Business Women's Awards (2021)

  • Fortune India's Most Powerful Women's List (2021)

  • Global Indian of the Year - The Economic Times' Prime Women Leadership Awards (2020)

  • LinkedIn Top Voice (2018-2020)

  • Thinkers50 List – Thinkers Who Will Shape the Future of Business (2019)

  • Top 10 list of FT Heroes - Champions of Women in Business by the Financial Times (2017-2019),

  • Recognized by Queen Elizabeth II as one of the most accomplished Indian Business Leaders in the UK (2017)


Despite Leena Nair being an outsider to the fashion world, her appointment shows Chanel's approach to diversifying its managerial base. This is a significant step forward for women in the industry.





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