Chanel's CEO says she's been the 'first woman, the first brown person, the first Asian, the first Indian' in every job – and wants to lift others up
- Chanel CEO Leena Nair told The Wall Street Journal she's been a trailblazer in every job she's had.
- Nair said she got 7,000 emails and letters from women applauding her when she was appointed in 2022.
The CEO of Chanel said she got about 7,000 emails and letters from women and girls praising her appointment, she told The Wall Street Journal.
The French luxury retailer appointed Leena Nair as only its second female boss in its 113-year history in January 2022.
"I've been the first at every job I've done. The first woman, the first brown person, the first Asian, the first Indian—but I don't want to be the last, and I am going to try and make it easier for those who come after me," Nair told the Journal, adding that one of her mottos is "lift as you climb."
Fortune's Global 500 rankings of the world's companies by revenue, released earlier this month, found that just 29 – or 6% – have a female CEOs. That's up from 24 last year.
That shows there's considerable room for improvement at the top of the biggest businesses.
Nair said she'd been told she couldn't do something "because I'm a girl" many times in her life. The 54-year-old added that "afterwards, you stop listening."
Maureen Chiquet became the Chanel's first female boss when she was appointed as its global CEO in 2007, before she resigning in 2016 due to strategic differences. Chanel co-owner and chair Alain Wertheimer took over the role for five years until Nair was appointed.
Nair was previously chief human resources officer at consumer goods giant Unilever before joining Chanel.
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