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Delphine to the Rescue

Delphine Arnault
Moving in after Burke's departure are Sidney Toledano, the previous fashion group head, who has returned from semi-retirement, and favored daughter Delphine Arnault, the current C.E.O. of Dior. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
May 16, 2024

There are few people left at LVMH who truly remember the old days—the time, way back, when the temple of luxury goods and Europe’s largest company was mostly still a real estate business. There is Bernard Arnault, of course, the C.E.O. and chairman who molded the empire. And then there is Michael Burke, who’s been with Arnault for nearly 40 years, perhaps as far back as when the great man was shilling vacation rental homes in Florida. In February, Burke was named C.E.O. of LVMH’s fashion division, a career capstone after decades ascending the greasy pole. Then, just this morning, BoF broke the news that he is suddenly “stepping back” from the role after just four months.

Moving in, at least temporarily, are Sidney Toledano, the previous fashion group head, who has returned from semi-retirement, and favored daughter Delphine Arnault, the current C.E.O. of Dior, who is now working more broadly across the group, as I reported a few weeks ago. Of course, there are a great many questions raised by this sudden, unexplained reorganization. Burke—incredibly sharp, occasionally cruel—may not be family, but he accepted the Fashion Group position as a sort of interstitial executive or contingency plan. If Arnault were ever unexpectedly forced to leave before his children were ready to take over—i.e., a sudden health issue—Burke, still in his early 60s, would bridge the gap.