By Suzanne Kapner 

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE installed new management at Tiffany & Co., as the French conglomerate seeks to place its imprint on the U.S. jeweler and steer it through the pandemic.

LVMH executive Anthony Ledru is returning to Tiffany, where he previously oversaw North American operations, as chief executive, effective immediately. Alexandre Arnault, the son of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, was appointed executive vice president of product and communications. Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, will become Tiffany's chairman.

Tiffany's current CEO Alessandro Bogliolo will depart on Jan. 22. Reed Krakoff, the chief artistic director, and Daniella Vitale, executive vice president and chief brand officer, also will leave after a short transition.

LVMH completed its $15.8 billion acquisition of the U.S. jeweler on Thursday after months of wrangling over the price that led to both companies suing each other. Bernard Arnault threatened to pull out of the deal, arguing that the Covid-19 pandemic had harmed Tiffany's business. In the end, he agreed to pay a 2.6% discount to the original price.

"Tiffany is an iconic brand and a quintessential emblem of the global jewelry sector," Bernard Arnault said in a statement Thursday. "We are optimistic about Tiffany's ability to accelerate its growth, innovate and remain at the forefront of our discerning customers' most cherished life achievements and memories."

Mr. Ledru and Alexandre Arnault will relocate to Tiffany's headquarters in New York. Both have an understanding of the U.S. market.

Mr. Ledru, 47 years old, has been executive vice president of global commercial activities at Louis Vuitton since 2017. He had previously served as the brand's CEO of the Americas. Before that, he was senior vice president of North America at Tiffany from 2013 to 2014. He also served as global vice president of sales for jeweler Harry Winston International and has worked for Cartier.

"I am delighted to rejoin Tiffany," Mr. Ledru said in a statement. "I have deep confidence in LVMH's commitment to protect the brand, drive its growth strategy and apply the highest standards of retail excellence."

In a letter sent to Tiffany's employees on Thursday, Mr. Ledru said that joining LVMH will allow the company to advance and accelerate its strategies. Mr. Ledru said he plans to hold a virtual town hall on Friday, where Tiffany employees will be able to ask questions about "what this new chapter means for the company and for you as individual team members."

Alexandre Arnault has led Rimowa since January 2017, a year after LVMH bought an 80% stake in the German suitcase maker. He began his career in the U.S. as a consultant at McKinsey & Co, then went on to work in private equity at KKR. He joined LVMH and Groupe Arnault, Bernard Arnault's investment firm, to focus on digital innovation.

Like other retailers, Tiffany's business had been hard hit by the pandemic. But it has recovered in recent months. Holiday sales rose 2% over the previous year, which the company said was a record for the period.

LVMH will need to make Tiffany more relevant to younger shoppers, lessen its dependence on engagement rings at a time when fewer people are getting married and spur product innovation, challenges that prior management had been tackling.

Write to Suzanne Kapner at Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 07, 2021 11:41 ET (16:41 GMT)

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