Chanel Global CEO Maureen Chiquet: No 'Urgency' to Expand in China


NEW YORK, January 16, 2013 — Chanel's Global CEO told a sold out Asia Society audience that her brand is not in a hurry to expand in China, because they want to remain "exclusive."

"China is moving fast, distribution changes and we want to be in the right place so we’d rather take our time and really assess the market and go to the places we know will be the quality location," said Maureen Chiquet, whose brand currently has 12 stores in seven mainland China cities.

"We don’t have the urgency to expand. We are an exclusive brand and we want to stay exclusive so it’s strategic to not be everywhere. What we are starting to learn is that like every developed market, the clients there want things other people can’t get. That’s what defines luxury in many ways so we’ve been careful, but in a very calculated way."

Chiquet spoke about the success of the iconic brand, and of her personal leadership journey to becoming one of the most powerful CEOs in the world. The program, a collaboration with the Harvard Business School Club of New York, was moderated by Daisy Dowling, head of talent development at the Blackstone Group.

Chiquet credited the success of her luxury house to an incredible team of strong executives and creative talents, as well as an ability to uphold a clear vision of what the brand represents. Unlike many luxury retailers that have turned mass-market, Chiquet maintains that the brand has no intention of doing diffusion lines, as they see themselves as the "ultimate house of luxury" and position themselves specifically "very high-end and luxurious."

Before concluding, Chiquet shared with the audience her advice for career success. She cited that it is important to take risks, be open to new possibilities, and most importantly, “don’t be afraid to start at the bottom.”

Audio: Listen to an excerpt from the program (4 min., 7 sec.)

Related Links:
Claire Chiang: First Principles and Compassionate Capitalism
More business news from Asia Society