New Louis Vuitton CEO Exits; Bulgari CEO to Replace Him

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Bulgari CEO Michael Burke will become chief executive at Louis Vuitton starting Wednesday, LVMH announced today.

Paris—Barely a month after he officially took over the helm as chief executive officer at Louis Vuitton, Jordi Constans has left his position due to a “significant health issue.”

In a statement released today, Bernard Arnault, chairman/ceo at LVMH, Louis Vuitton’s parent, said: “During his time with Louis Vuitton Jordi Constans has shown remarkable leadership which has earned him the respect of the entire team. He understood perfectly the opportunities for this iconic brand. On behalf of the entire group I wish Jordi a full recovery.”

Constans, a  Spanish national, was executive vice president of French yogurt group Danone’s fresh dairy products division as well as a member of its executive committee. The appointment of 48-year-old Constans to Louis Vuitton’s chief reflected trend among luxurygoods groups to hire away senior executives from consumer goods businesses for their experience in rapid expansion into emerging markets.

He succeeded Yves Carcelle, who had been Louis Vuitton ceo for 22 years, on Nov. 19.

No details were given regarding Constans’ illness but news reports said it wasn’t believed his condition was life threatening.

Constans will be replaced beginning Wednesday by Michael Burke, who is chief executive for Bulgari. Previously, Burke served as president/ceo of Louis Vuitton North America from 1993 to 1997. He moved to Paris to become worldwide managing director of Christian Dior Couture and then to the management team at Fendi in 2003. Burke has been at Bulgari since February.

Burke “has enormous experience in our business and knows Louis Vuitton well… I am convinced that he is the right leader for Louis Vuitton’s future; he will build on the initiatives launched by Jordi Constans, bringing the vision and drive to continue advancing Louis Vuitton’s leadership position in luxury,” Arnault, said.

Burke also joins the executive committee of the LVMH.

No successor at Bulgari has been named yet.