British actress Emma Watson, famed for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter film series, and former Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam are set to join the board of French luxury group Kering as it pushes to raise its profile in areas such as sustainability.
Kering, behind top fashion brands like Italy’s Gucci, said that Watson would chair the board’s sustainability committee, which is focused on environmental matters – a growing concern for many young luxury shoppers companies want to court.
Watson, 30, is also known as a champion of women’s rights and is a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador.
Back in 2009, the actor collaborated with Fair Trade pioneer People Tree to make a sustainable collection for women. She also took an ethical stance onto the big screen, while working on her 2017 film, Beauty and the Beast. She worked with the costume designer Jacqueline Durran and the sustainable brand Eco Age to create recycled and sustainably sourced costumes. At the 2016 Met Gala, she wore a custom Calvin Klein dress made from sustainable cotton, satin, and taffeta woven from recycled plastic yarn. Gabriela Hearst, Stella McCartney and several other slow fashion brands feature as some of her favourite go-to fashion brands.
On their official Instagram account, Kering posted, “Kering is proud to announce that Emma Watson is joining its Board of Directors, alongside Jean Liu and Tidjane Thiam. Their appointments have been approved by Kering’s shareholders during the Group’s Annual General Meeting, as proposed by the Board of Directors in March 2020.
Emma Watson has also been appointed Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors.
The combined wealth of experience and skillsets of these three well-known figures will be complementary assets to the Group, enhancing the quality of the work done by the Board of Directors. The latter will benefit from their contribution in defining the Group’s strategic orientations. “I am delighted to welcome Jean Liu, Tidjane Thiam and Emma Watson to our Board of Directors. Their respective knowledge and competence, the multiplicity of their backgrounds and perspectives will be invaluable additions to the reflections of Kering’s Board of Directors. The collective intelligence that comes from the diversity of point of views and the richness brought by different experiences are crucial to the future of our organization, and I am proud to add such impressive talents to the team.”
Kering said that shareholders had also approved the appointment of Thiam, who quit as Credit Suisse chief executive in February following a spying scandal and revelations that the Swiss bank had snooped on former executives.
Thiam, who previously ran insurer Prudential, had said he knew nothing of these activities. He led cost cuts and a restructuring at Credit Suisse which were credited with helping it return to profit.
He will chair Kering’s Audit Committee, the company said.
Jean Liu, president of China’s biggest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, will also join Kering’s board, the group added.
Kering, which also owns Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, has like peers been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced many store closures worldwide.
Enduring restrictions on international travel are likely to weigh on the sector for months to come, especially in shopping capitals like Paris. Chinese customers account for over a third of global luxury goods sales, and many usually shop overseas.
Luxury companies have been doubling down all the same on efforts to win over clients, including by bolstering their green credentials. Louis Vuitton owner LVMH said last July that British designer Stella McCartney would advise the group’s executive committee on environmental matters.
— with Reuters inputs