LVMH reshuffle puts Bernard Arnault’s son Antoine in spotlight

By Mimosa Spencer

PARIS (Reuters) -Antoine Arnault, one of Bernard Arnault’s five children, will step back from the day-to-day management of upmarket menswear label Berluti in January, LVMH said on Wednesday, fuelling speculation about his next role.

All the LVMH CEO’s children hold important positions in the luxury goods group and are closely watched for any signs that one could become favourite to succeed the 74-year-old, who has not indicated he plans to step down.

Although Antoine, 46, has the highest profile, the others are stepping more into the public eye as they move up the LVMH ranks, including his older sister Delphine, who became CEO of the its second-biggest fashion label Dior in February.

Antoine is also in charge of image and environment at LVMH, and credited with negotiating a high-profile deal for the company to sponsor next summer’s Paris Olympic Games. He will remain chairman of Berluti, which he has managed since 2012, as well as fashion brand Loro Piana.

“From its heritage as a shoe specialist, Berluti has come a long way to become a full-fledged Maison for men,” said Toni Belloni, LVMH group managing director, citing “remarkable” revenue and profit growth at the label.

LVMH does not give financial figures for individual brands.

“Contrary to Loro Piana, which is booming, I believe Berluti has yet to find a winning formula,” said Luca Solca, analyst with Bernstein.

Berluti will design the Olympics and Paralympics opening ceremony uniforms for the French teams, raising the profile of the brand known for its buffed leather shoes and tailored suits.

Jean-Marc Mansvelt, CEO of historic jewellery label Chaumet, will become CEO of Berluti, while Charles Leung, CEO of jewellery label Fred, will become CEO of Chaumet.

LVMH said it will seek a successor for Leung, who recently created a buzz by introducing high-end jewellery featuring lab-created diamonds.

(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Jason Neely, Jane Merriman and Alexander Smith)