PARIS, France — The chief executive of the billionaire Pinault family’s investment arm, Artemis, is stepping aside in a move that speeds the changing of the guard atop the French luxury-goods industry.
Patricia Barbizet, 62, will focus on developing her own business while continuing to serve as a board member of Artemis and board vice president at Gucci owner Kering, Paris-based Artemis said in a statement Wednesday. Kering chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault will take over Barbizet’s executive role in January, a spokesperson for the company said.
During her nearly three-decade tenure managing investments for the family, Barbizet helped to transform its business from selling pull-out couches and CDs to French consumers, through the retail chains Conforama and FNAC, into a global luxury empire whose holdings include the Christie’s auction house, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent.
The move is the latest in a wave of executive and creative changes at the top of the luxury industry. Over the last two years, new chief executives have taken the helm at Pinault-controlled Balenciaga, Brioni and Alexander McQueen. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, the rival luxury-goods maker controlled by billionaire Bernard Arnault, shook up its senior ranks this month, tapping Fendi chief executive Pietro Beccari for the top job at Christian Dior while moving that brand’s veteran CEO, Sidney Toledano, to a role supervising LMVH’s smaller fashion brands.
“After 30 years of fruitful and amicable collaboration with Patricia Barbizet, I understand her desire to have her own entrepreneurial life in turn,” Kering founder Francois Pinault said.
By Robert Williams; editors: Eric Pfanner and John J. Edwards III.