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US-CINEMA-CHANEL N5 FILM

Source: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Getty

Global Chief Executive Officer of Chanel, Maureen Chiquet, has quietly and surprisingly, left the company.  The Global CEO since 2007, Chiquet has been replaced by Chanel Chairman and Co-Owner, Alain Wertheimer.

The privately held company would not delve into details on sudden departure of their long-time leader.  Chanel released one sole statement regarding the exit of their executive leader, stating it was “due to differences of opinion about the strategic direction of the company.”

Wertheimer sent an internal letter to employees, hinting that this is not an interim or short-term move.

“I am confident in this role because of the great teams that are in place and the excellent condition of the company.” ~ Alain Wertheimer

Maureen Chiquet is a widely respected and strategic retail executive with a long career at both Banana Republic and The Gap.  Initially, retail insiders, whispered and suggested she was an unusual choice for Chanel back in ’07.  However, Chiquet rose to the occasion, successfully leading an international expansion for the company.  Furthermore, she enhanced its timeless image and successfully grew the business across all categories.

Chanel’s ‘Daddy’, Karl Lagerfeld, who maintains and drives the direction and branding of the fashion business with a cabinet of collaborators, threw shade to Chiquet via WWD. When asked about Chiquet’s departure, he responded, “I hardly knew her.”

The pictures of yesterday's opening are now live on Karl.com! #karlywood by @tiffanycooper_ #KARLLAGERFELD

A photo posted by KARL LAGERFELD (@karllagerfeld) on

New leadership means new strategies and direction for the company. It will be interesting to see what co-owner Alain Wertheimer brings to the table. Interesting choice as a main stakeholder in Chanel, each decision made is a mult-million dollar one and effects his personal and professional bottom line. Could he be too close to Chanel, to really enhance and take Chanel in an evolutionary direction?

It will be interesting to see!

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