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Leena Nair

Global Chief Executive, Chanel

The Chanel chief executive is the only woman of colour leading a major luxury brand and is poised to shake up luxury fashion, leveraging her outsider status and background in human resources.


Leena Nair is the global chief executive of Chanel since January 2022. 

As a British-Indian woman who spent decades leading human resources and company culture for consumer goods giant Unilever, Nair stands out among luxury's top executives who remain mostly male and white, in addition to bringing  an outsider view on fashion. 

Nair, who joined the French couture-and-beauty icon during a time of transition following Karl Lagerfeld ’s death in 2019, is tasked with extending the luxury label’s long-running success while modernising its structures and storytelling. Her appointment signals the importance of attracting and managing talent for Chanel's evolution. 

Nair was born in India, and joined Unilever almost 30 years ago. She rose to the top of the company’s South Asian human resources team, then moved to London to serve as senior vice president for leadership and organisational development, before finally being appointed chief human resources officer of the group. 

As chief executive of Chanel, she became the only woman of colour leading a major global luxury brand.







Vital Statistics

11 June 1969

United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Member since

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.