Louis Vuitton trailblazer Carcelle dies aged 66

Mon Sep 1, 2014 9:32am EDT
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Yves Carcelle, the man credited with turning Louis Vuitton into the world's biggest luxury brand by revenue, died on Sunday, Louis Vuitton parent LVMH said.

Carcelle, an energetic, self-made man who headed Louis Vuitton for more than two decades until 2012, died of cancer. He was 66 years old.

His death comes as LVMH is working hard to revive Louis Vuitton by moving it upmarket after sales growth plummeted in the past two years.

"A tireless traveler, Yves was a pioneer ... Always curious, passionate and in motion, he was one of the most inspiring leaders of men and women whom I have ever had the privilege of knowing," LVMH Chief Executive and founder Bernard Arnault said in a statement on Monday.

Louis Vuitton is the biggest profit and cash generator for LVMH, the world's No.1 luxury group which owns more than 60 brands including fashion labels Christian Dior, Celine and Fendi, jeweler Bulgari and cognac maker Hennessy.

Carcelle, a charismatic manager who inspired his teams to work as much as him, including on weekends, was regarded as the smooth implementer of Arnault's global ambitions for Louis Vuitton.

"He led the industry into retail away from the wholesale model and played a key role in the development of the global luxury goods industry," said Julian Easthope, a luxury goods analyst at Barclays.

Louis Vuitton was an industry trailblazer, one of the first major luxury brands to only sell its goods in directly operated shops and never offer discounts.   Continued...

Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton Malletier, poses for a photograph after an interview with Reuters at the largest China LV store in Shanghai, July 17, 2012.  REUTERS/Aly Song