Leena Nair : The youngest ever first female CEO of Luxury Brand Chanel

Leena Nair is a splendid example of how through hard work, dedication and determination, one could do wonders in this world. It is only her talent and skillset that has accompanied her to lead some of the world’s most prominent organisations against all odds.

Leena Nair

It is becoming unfathomable, the sheer number of Indian CEOs in some of the world’s biggest companies. The excitement of Parag Agrawal taking the position of the CEO of Twitter was not even over yet and we have yet another Indian at the leadership position at the top brand in its industry. Yes, we are talking about Leena Nair, the CEO of Chanel. And while doing so, she has broken quite a few records on the way. She is the first-ever woman and the youngest woman to have graced the CEO designation at the French luxury fashion brand. Let us glance through her extraordinary journey from a small town in Maharashtra, India, to managing a firm that comprises over 1,60,000 employees – Unilever, and now sitting at the top position at Chanel.

Early Life

Born in Kohlapur, Maharashtra, the real journey began in the small town of Sangli, Maharashtra from where Leena completed her graduation in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at Walchand College of Engineering in 1990. This newly graduated aspirant continued to secure an MBA in Human Resources from XLRI Jamshedpur in 1992. It was here that she also won a gold medal that exposed the spark that she was about to turn into fire.

Professional Career

Avoiding any gap in her professional career, she began as a Management Trainee in 1992 at Unilever. What followed next was nothing short of mighty impressive. Leena worked tirelessly at various positions in the company to get exposure to all sorts of roles in a global establishment. 25 years later, Leena Nair became the youngest ever, first female, first Asian Chief Human Resources Officer at Unilever in 2016. She fulfilled that role for 5 years leading to the global expansion of the organisation along with ensuring that it leaves behind an overall positive environmental footprint. Having earned myriad accolades and awards to her name at Unilever, she was also a member of Unilever Leadership Executive.

Current Life

About to take the position of CEO at Chanel in the coming months, Leena Nair is currently based out of London. She is a British national with Indian roots. Nair was among the most influential women in Fortune magazine’s 2021 edition which is yet another stamp of validation recognising her distinctive achievements. She will continue to work for the French luxury fashion house from London itself. It would be immensely exciting to witness how she introduces her people-oriented approach at her new office.

Leena Nair is a splendid example of how through hard work, dedication and determination, one could do wonders in this world. It is only her talent and skillset that has accompanied her to lead some of the world’s most prominent organisations against all odds. This could also be attributed to her role model and anchor in life, Indra Nooyi who was the first Indian woman to lead a global company, Pepsico. Such incredible women continue to be an inspiration for the millions of upcoming women, as well as men entrepreneurs who have huge dreams but are too afraid to follow them. Only after believing in yourself, could you convincingly go out there and conquer the world.

Also read: Rekha Atri – Founder of iKargos, Leading The Charge Towards Transforming India’s Cargo Management Industry.

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