Leena Nair broke all barriers by becoming the first ever Indian-origin Global CEO of French luxury fashion house, Chanel in January, 2022. The 54-year-old business executive was born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and has excelled her way through to become the leading lady of the brand.
Leena Nair, the daughter of Indian politician K. Karthikeyan, studied Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer from Walchand College of Engineering in Sangli, Maharashtra. After that she completed her MBA in Human Resources from XLRI, Jamshedpur in 1992 as a gold medalist.
Before joining Chanel, Leena had worked at Unilever for 30 years, she joined the company as a Management Trainee and worked her way up to become the first female, Asian and youngest female Chief Human Resource Officer and also a member of the Unilever leadership executive. She left a journey of 30 long years in Unilever to join Chanel. “Unilever, in so many ways, has been one of the defining relationships of my life,” the HR Executive defines her journey through her Instagram post.
Nair after completing a year at Chanel took it to her LinkedIn to talk about her experience at Chanel, what she calls, “an iconic and admired company”. She recalls and says, “visited 25 regional offices, 40 manufacturing locations and heritage sites, 100 points of sale, and every creation studio.”
Leena Nair was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II as one of the accomplished Indian Business Leaders in the UK in 2017 and among her many other achievements she was also awarded the “Role Model of Year, The Great British Businesswoman’s Awards, 2021.She also made it to the Forbes India’s Top Self-Made Women’s List in 2022.
Currently based in London, Leena has taken the helm of the leading couture brands in the world, a business empire worth Rs Rs.1,28,000 crore.