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Kering appoints Emma Watson to board of directors

By Simone Preuss

Jun. 17, 2020

The shareholders of French luxury conglomerate Kering, which includes luxury fashion brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, have approved the appointment of actor Emma Watson as director during their annual general meeting on 16th June 2020.

They also appointed Jean Liu, president of “Chinese Uber” Didi Chuxing and former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam. The latter is also chair of the audit committee while Watson is also chair of the sustainability committee. The appointments were already proposed by the board of directors gathered on 12th March 2020.

After Kering lost one of the most ethical and sustainable luxury brands with Stella McCartney when the designer bought back her label from Kering more than two years ago and joined competitor LVMH last year, Kering had to think of something, especially to win over free-spending millennials as customers. The appointment of Watson who is known not only for her acting skills but also her activism, be it for women’s rights and gender equality or the environment and sustainability, is certainly a smart move for Kering.

Can Emma Watson attract millennials for Kering?

“I am delighted to welcome Jean Liu, Tidjane Thiam and Emma Watson to our board of directors. Their respective knowledge and competences, and the multiplicity of their backgrounds and perspectives will be invaluable additions to Kering’s board of directors. The collective intelligence that comes from diverse points of view and the richness of different experiences are crucial to the future of our organization. I am proud to add such impressive talents to the team,” commented Kering’s CEO François-Henri Pinault - married to Hollywood star and activist Salma Hayek - in a statement on Tuesday.

Emma Watson was catapulted to fame 20 years ago as Hermione Granger in the film adaptation of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books and has since made a name for herself the world over as an actor and activist. She is particularly committed to equal rights and has launched the HeForShe initiative for this purpose, which involves men in the promotion of gender equality. Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron invited her to participate in the G7 Gender Equality Council.

Emma Watson is also committed to the environment and supports sustainable clothing, including sporting sustainable creations by well known designers at red carpet events herself. In 2018, she was invited to be the guest editor of an issue of Vogue Australia on sustainable development and responsible consumption. Watson is also the face of mobile app Good On You, which allows consumers to check the sustainability credentials of fashion brands. As far as the Kering brands Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are concerned, Watson can start right there, as these are currently being described by Good On You as "not good enough" or "it's a start".

At the end of 2019, the Kering Group employed more than 38,000 people worldwide and had a turnover of 15.9 billion euros last year and a net profit of 2.3 billion euros.

Photo: Kering