Luxury firm Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton LVMH has concluded negotiations with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair will serve as an adviser to the brand (which includes luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Givenchy, Fendi, Hennessy, and Dior). It is well-known that Blair and LVMH head Bernard Arnault, the world’s 16th richest person, are close friends.
Although the pairing may seem unlikely, luxury analyst at Bernstein in London, Luca Solca, commended the partnership. “Blair could help LVMH open up new markets, get necessary authorizations, and resolve complex issues.”
One such market is India. The French umbrella corporation, like many of its competitors, has had trouble expanding into India due to lack of retail space, high restrictions and requirements, and a poor political foundation. According to analysts, India has the potential to bring LVMH $15 billion in annual sales.[more]
Now that Blair is out of the running for the EU presidency, he has pursued opportunities advising JP Morgan Chase and Zurich Financial. But this recent partnership is gaining the most criticism.
Liberal Democrats, like head Norman Lamb, are worried that political priorities are becoming a bit skewed, while other critics are also citing examples of Blair’s unusually close relationship with Arnault when he was in office. This includes Blair’s son’s work experience at LVMH’s vineyard and at a French radio station owned by Arnault.
This isn’t the first time that LVMH has approached political leaders for brand involvement; Louis Vuitton placed Mikhail Gorbachev in its 2007 luggage campaign.
What do you think of Blair’s partnership with the luxury group? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?