PARIS (Reuters) – British actress Emma Watson, famed for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter film series, and former Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam are set to join the board of French luxury group Kering as it pushes to raise its profile in areas such as sustainability.
FILE PHOTO: British actress Emma Watson (R) and Mauritanian activist Aissata Lam pose for a family photo following a meeting on gender equality at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France February 19, 2019. Yoan Valat/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Kering, behind top fashion brands like Italy’s Gucci, said that Watson would chair the board’s sustainability committee, which is focused on environmental matters – a growing concern for many young luxury shoppers companies want to court.
Watson, 30, is also known as a champion of women’s rights and is a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador.
Kering said that shareholders had also approved the appointment of Thiam, who quit as Credit Suisse chief executive in February following a spying scandal and revelations that the Swiss bank had snooped on former executives.
Thiam, who previously ran insurer Prudential, had said he knew nothing of these activities. He led cost cuts and a restructuring at Credit Suisse which were credited with helping it return to profit.
He will chair Kering’s Audit Committee, the company said.
Jean Liu, president of China’s biggest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, will also join Kering’s board, the group added.
Kering, which also owns Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, has like peers been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced many store closures worldwide.
Enduring restrictions on international travel are likely to weigh on the sector for months to come, especially in shopping capitals like Paris. Chinese customers account for over a third of global luxury goods sales, and many usually shop overseas.
Luxury companies have been doubling down all the same on efforts to win over clients, including by bolstering their green credentials. Louis Vuitton owner LVMH said last July that British designer Stella McCartney would advise the group’s executive committee on environmental matters.
Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Sarah White; Editing by Catherine Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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