The dynamic brothers Houzé have the advantage of a right-brain, left-brain talent pool split between them. Their willingness to think differently in positioning their family’s iconic 100-year-old store firmly towards the future saw them stage the Vetements show in July 2017, underneath the iconic cupola of their boulevard Haussmann headquarters.
They have made significant strides at the historic French retailer, especially in terms of adopting an improved digital strategy and expanding the company’s international presence. In March 2019, Galeries Lafayette Group, which operates 62 Galeries Lafayette stores around the world, opened a four-story, 70,000-square-foot store on the Champs-Elysées, the largest retail space on the famed Parisian thoroughfare.
After attending business school at INSEAD, Nicolas's career began in consulting and investing at A.T. Kearney and Deutsche Bank respectively, before he joined Monoprix in 1998. He held a variety of positions in the family-owned accessible retailer for eight years — including launching the Monop' convenience store concept — before assuming the role of chairman of Louis Pion/Royal Quartz since 2006. In 2012, he was made chairman of French jewellery line Didier Guerin.
Their father Philippe Houzé is the chairman of the Galeries Lafayette group, which includes Galeries Lafayette and Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV), a department store in Paris. The chairman appointed Houzé — the eldest son in the family — to the role after fifteen years working in the family business. Paul Delaoutre, former chief executive of ten years, stepped down from his role — providing a vacancy for Houzé to fill. Shortly after his appointment, French press reported that Guillaume — previously president of the foundation Galeries Lafayette — would also join the management team in 2013 as director of brand image.
In addition to his responsibilities as chief executive, Nicolas oversees the Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation. However, his appointment has not been without its controversies. Houzé’s significant efforts to re-staff top level executives in the company less than a year after his appointment resulted in controversial coverage in the local French press.