EXCLUSIVE: Kering Names Laurent Claquin Chief Brand Officer

PARIS Kering has appointed Laurent Claquin group chief brand officer, a newly created position, marking the latest change in its senior management ranks as it implements turnaround efforts amid a global slowdown in spending on luxury goods.

Claquin, president of Kering Americas since 2012, will be in charge of communications for the French luxury group and will relocate to Paris from New York City. Effective July 1, his appointment follows the departure in March of Valérie Duport, whose title was chief communications and image officer.

“The creation of this role aims to enhance the appeal of Kering’s corporate brand as well as increase its visibility and influence,” Kering said in a statement shared exclusively with WWD.

“Achieving this requires consistent messaging across all touch points, and Laurent Claquin’s responsibility will be to define and coordinate Kering’s communications, both externally and internally, across all regions, following a unified editorial calendar and strategy,” it added.

Claquin will also support the group’s brands, which include Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, by amplifying their communications efforts when appropriate and by developing high-profile events that bolster their initiatives, Kering said.

The executive, who joined the group in 2005, represents a pair of safe hands, having worked alongside Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault in several leadership roles, including senior vice president of communications and head of corporate social responsibility.

He was also the CEO of Tomas Maier from 2017 to 2018, when Kering wound down the label following the departure of Tomas Maier as creative director of Bottega Veneta.

Claquin will join the executive committee and will report to Jean-Marc Duplaix, who was named deputy CEO in charge of operations and finance in a management shake-up last year that also saw Francesca Bellettini named deputy CEO in charge of brand development.

The restructuring came during a challenging period for Gucci, as it navigated a change in creative direction, and Balenciaga, as it dealt with the fallout from an advertising scandal.

Pinault said in April he hopes Kering’s ongoing turnaround efforts will start bearing fruit soon. “We are determined to deliver improvements at the end of this year already and in 2025,” he told the company’s annual general meeting.

Kering expects operating profit in the first half to plummet by 40 to 45 percent amid a drop in sales at Gucci, which brings in around half of the group’s sales and more than two-thirds of its profit.

Claquin began his career as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and held various roles in the culture sector: at the Jeu de Paume arts center, at the Centre Pompidou museum, and as chief of staff of France’s culture minister.

He is a graduate of ESC Rennes School of Business, Exeter University and Université Paris VIII.

During his time in the U.S., he oversaw the launch of programs including Kering’s collaboration with Black in Corporate on a mentorship program for young Black professionals, and the opening of new, high-tech headquarters for its U.S. operations in Wayne, N.J.

With contributions from David Moin

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