LVMH to Increase Female Executive Committee Members

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LVMH founder and CEO Bernard Arnault

According to the Independent, 80 percent of people who shop LVMH are women, 75 percent of the company’s employees are women, and 61 percent of its executives are women—but out of the 18 board members, only two are women.

Bernard Arnault, the founder and CEO of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, however, is setting out to change that. Arnault has commissioned Chantal Gaemperle, LVMH’s head of human resources and synergies, to bring the percentage of female executive committee members up to 35 percent by 2012.

“We are pleased with the way progress is being made but the most important thing is that we have diagnosed the problem and now have a visible agenda to follow,” Gaemperle told the Independent. (As the newspaper points out, it’s not entirely LVMH’s initiative: France’s new quota laws require that within six years, companies with more than 500 staff members must have 40 percent of their non-executive directors be women.)

“We have to look at the facts: around the world, 50 percent—in some places more—of all graduates are women but they are not represented in those numbers at the top of business,” Gaemperle said. “Yet they are as educated as men, but not coming through enough into senior positions. For me, in human resources, this is about talent and it must be a competitive advantage to have as much diversity as possible.”

Bulgari, LVMH's most recent acquisition, might be a good place to start: Although 64 percent of its staff is female, there are no women on the board.

And though this morning’s gossip mill brings buzzings that LVMH might be looking at Jimmy Choo (a company founded by and run by a woman, Tamara Mellon), Gaemperle hinted that Burberryanother rumored interest of the company—could be just what they need.

“Ah, Burberry,” said Gaemperle when asked if she thought it was a brand worth adding to LVMH’s stable. “It’s a very good company—run by women, you know.”

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