Signaling its ambitions in luxury experiences, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has named a dynamic and widely admired leader to lead its hospitality division.
Stéphane Rinderknech, recently chairman and CEO of L’Oreal USA and a 20-year veteran of the French beauty giant, has been named chairman and CEO of LVMH Hospitality Excellence, effective June 6, WWD has learned. Rinderknech also becomes a member of the executive committee of LVMH.
The appointment confirms an April 28 WWD report naming Rinderknech as the likely successor to Andrea Guerra, who is leaving office at the end of May to “pursue other interests”. Guerra will then become senior strategy and development adviser to the French conglomerate, as noted.
LVMH radically changed the hospitality industry in 2018 with its surprise $2.6 billion acquisition of Belmond, prized for its fleet of marquee properties in a range of exceptional destinations.
LVMH Hospitality Excellence now brings together Hôtels Cheval Blanc and Belmond Hôtels et Trains, which bring together more than 50 luxury establishments in hotels, restaurants, trains and river cruises. Highlight properties include the Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Mount Nelson in Capetown and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train.
The group’s fashion and leather goods brands have also pushed experiences further, with Louis Vuitton adding restaurants and a chocolate factory to new flagships in Japan, while Dior’s supercharged Avenue Montaigne boutique now incorporates a restaurant. , a café, a museum and a hotel suite.
When La Samaritaine reopened last June after a lengthy renovation, the historic department store inaugurated a handful of new restaurants and a Hôtel Cheval Blanc which reportedly sees occupancy rates above 90%, despite the lack of Chinese tourists in the capital. French. . Reservations at his Le Tout-Paris and Langosteria restaurants are hard to come by.
“Upscale hotels represent a great opportunity for our group,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of the LVMH group, in an internal announcement seen by WWD.
The luxury titan trumpeted that Rinderknech “has demonstrated a remarkable ability to deliver impressive performances, grow organizations and bring out the best in talented people” throughout his career.
“His appetite to learn and constantly evolve, combined with his agility and passion for new challenges, are essential assets to lead our exceptional properties and destinations to the next level of development,” added Arnault.
Following this appointment, Olivier Lefebvre, CEO of Cheval Blanc Hotels, and Roeland Vos, Chairman and CEO of Belmond Hotels & Trains, will report to Rinderknech.
“I am delighted to join the LVMH group and take the helm of its Hospitality Excellence division,” Rinderknech commented in the announcement. “During my many years abroad, I have developed a deep passion for the art of hospitality and its variations around the world.
“With their unique properties and heritages, Cheval Blanc and Belmond are uniquely positioned to meet customer expectations for authentic luxury experiences,” he added.
A graduate of ISG Business School in Paris, Rinderknech began his career in 2002 with the US travel retail division of L’Oréal, gaining additional responsibilities by holding positions in Japan and South Korea.
He moved to China in 2011, first as Managing Director of L’Oréal’s Luxury Division, then as head of the Consumer Products Division before being promoted to President and CEO of L’Oréal China. for all divisions and corporate operations.
Rinderknech became a member of L’Oréal’s executive committee in 2018 and a year later took over the management of L’Oréal USA.
Hailed as a rising star and a viable candidate to one day be CEO of L’Oréal’s global operations, he was responsible for increasing the company’s business in China by 30% during his tenure as CEO of that division. His strength in digital marketing – e-commerce represented 40% of L’Oréal’s sales in the country when he left – was a key driver for his appointment in the United States, where he was responsible for accelerating the L’Oréal’s digital transformation.
While LVMH is known for developing and nurturing executive talent from within, it has recruited a number of high-level L’Oréal executives in recent years, including Damien Bertrand, now CEO of Loro Piana, and Pierre -Emmanuel Angeloglou, director of strategic missions for fashion and leather goods at Louis Vuitton.
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