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Meet Leena Nair, the Unilever HR chief who is Chanel's new global CEO

The 52-year-old will join the French luxury brand in January 2022

Meet Leena Nair, the Unilever HR chief who is Chanel's new global CEO
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New Delhi, First Published Dec 15, 2021, 9:42 AM IST
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French luxury conglomerate Chanel's decision to appoint Leena Nair as its new global chief executive has expanded the list of international firms that are being led by Indians. Leena was the Chief Human Resource Officer of Unilever and was a Unilever Leadership Executive member. In January 2022, the 52-year-old will join the French luxury firm.

French billionaire Alain Wertheimer, who owns Chanel with his brother Gerard Wertheimer, will take over the position of global executive chairman. Leena has had a career spanning 30 years at Unilever, which is a global consumer goods company. Following her appointment to the new role, Leena took to Twitter to say that Chanel believed in the freedom of creation, in cultivating human potential and in acting to have a positive impact in the world.

Stating that she was grateful for her long career at Unilever -- a place that has been her home for 30 years -- Leena said that the firm had given her so many opportunities to grow and contribute to the purpose-driven organisation and that she would always proudly advocate Unilever's ambition to make sustainable living commonplace.

Leena, Unilever's youngest executive director, joined the firm in 1992 after graduating from St Xavier's College of Management. In June 2007, Nair became the youngest executive director of Hindustan Unilever and the first woman to be appointed as Hindustan Unilever HR head for the first time in 90 years. A year later she was appointed the first woman in the Unilever South Asia Leadership Team. Apart from India, she had the responsibility of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. 

Leena is originally from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. She studied at the Holy Cross Convent School, Kolhapur. She also studied electronics engineering at the Walchand College of Engineering in Sangli, Maharashtra. Leena worked in three different factories in Kolkata (West Bengal), Ambattur (Tamil Nadu) and Taloja (Maharashtra). 

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