Unilever CHRO Leena Nair joins French luxury fashion house Chanel as global CEO


Chanel CEO: Leena Nair of Indian-origin has been appointed as the CEO of Chanel, a French Luxury Brand. Leena Nair’s name is now added to the list of leaders of Indian origin who have acquired significant positions in top global firms. Leena Nair who was the Chief Human Resources Officer of Unilever will step down from the position in January 2022. Nair will join the globally famous French-Luxury brand- Chanel and will be based out of London. Leena Nair began her career at Hindustan Unilever as a management trainee 30 years ago. Later, she became the first woman on the management committee of Hindustan Unilever. Parag Agrawal, an IIT-Bombay graduate, is another name from India who was in news a few weeks ago for being appointed as the new CEO of social media giant Twitter based in the US. 

The new global CEO of Chanel Leena Nair during her time at Unilever had progressed through the roles in sales, factories, and human resources. After three years as the head of leadership and organizational development in London, Nair in 2016 was appointed as the CHRO of Unilever. She was responsible for the company’s 1,50,000 people across more than 100 countries globally. Leena Nair was also a member of the Unilever Leadership Executive. 

CEO at Unilever, Alan Jope thanked Leena Nair for her outstanding contribution to Unilever over the last three decades. She played a critical role in building the purpose-led, future-fit organisation, which is now the employer of choice in over 50 countries globally. 

Leena Nair education

Leena Nair was a student of Holy Cross Convent School in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Before graduation from XLRI-Xavier Institute of Management as the Gold Medallist (1990-1992), Nair had studied electronics engineering at Walchand College of Engineering (Maharashtra). 

Leena Nair: Awards and Recognition



2021 Role Model of Year, The Great British Businesswoman’s Awards
2021 Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women’s List
2020 Global Indian of the Year- The Economic Times’Prime Women Leadership Awards
2018-20 Linkedin Top Voice
2019 Thinkers50 List- Thinkers who will Shape the Future of Business
2017-2019 Top 10 List of FT HERoes Champions of Women in Business by the Financial Times
2017 Recognized by HRH Queen Elizabeth II as one of the accomplished Indian business leaders in the UK

About Chanel

A French Luxury Fashion House- Chanel was founded by “Coco” Chanel in 1910. The famous brand focuses on women’s luxury goods, ready-to-wear clothes, and accessories. Chanel is well-known globally for the perfume Chanel No. 5 and the Chanel suit. 

Chanel played a crucial role in revolutionizing fashion- both high fashion and everyday fashion. It replaced the structured silhouettes, based upon the bodice and corset, with garments that are functional as well as flattering to the women’s figure. 

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