September 2, 2015 / 1:15 AM / 2 years ago

LVMH hires former Apple executive as digital director

PARIS (Reuters) - LVMH has hired Ian Rogers, an Apple Inc iTunes senior director, to be its new head of digital, as part of the luxury group’s drive to more fully embrace the Internet.

It marks one of the most high profile hires from the digital industry as fashion, jewelry and cosmetics brands race to build up teams able to engage online customers.

Previously, transfers went the other way around as Apple poached several luxury executives including Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry Chief Executive, and Paul Deneve, former boss of Saint Laurent, owned by Kering.

Last year, L‘Oreal created the job of chief digital officer to expand its presence online and hired the Bulgarian-born and French-educated Lubomira Rochet who sits on the cosmetics group’s executive committee.

Rogers ran Beats Music before the company was bought last year by Apple and then joined its iTunes team as a senior director.

As the tech giant rolled out Apple Music, its new music streaming service, Rogers oversaw the radio portion. Apple said in August that the service had attracted more than 11 million members during its free trial period, a response that music industry experts called respectable but not overwhelming.

In Rogers, Apple is losing a leader with a strong track record of innovation, said Ted Cohen, a former music executive who is now managing partner of TAG Strategic, a digital entertainment consultancy.

“He is the smartest and most compassionate digital music guy I’ve met in my career,” he said. “I think it’s Apple’s loss.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Rogers takes up his new job at LVMH in October.

While luxury goods sales globally have slowed down in recent years to around 5 percent annually, luxury online sales have been rising by more than 20-30 percent, albeit from a very low base.

Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt and Julia Love, Editing by William Hardy and Ken Wills

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