Ian Rogers exits LVMH, as luxury group shakes up its digital divisions
American-born executive Ian Rogers is to exist 24s, the fledgling e-commerce wing of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, as part of a major shakeup in digital and information technology within the group.
Rogers, who joined LVMH from Apple five years ago, has been named Special Advisor to Bernard Arnault, though stripped of any operational role. Rogers oversaw the launch of 24S, which was confusingly initially named 24 Sevres, after the Paris address of the tony Left Bank department store that is also part of the LVMH empire.
As part of the new management structure, LVMH named Michael David as its new Chief Omnichannel Officer; and appointed Franck Le Moal, its Group IT Director, to be in charge of its Digital Partnerships Team. Both of them will report to Toni Belloni, Group Managing Director, and the Cardinal Mazarin of the luxury conglomerate.
In a related move, Wendy Chan, Head for Digital in Asia Pacific, will add local media oversight to her scope and report to Michael David as well.
In an internal announcement made available to FashionNetwork.com, LVMH praised Rogers for helping to grow e-commerce to a double-digit percentage of total revenue; embarking ambitious projects Data and Artificial Intelligence; and building relationships with the startup community surrounding.
Rogers will now take up a position in the Paris-based technology start-up Ledger.
“We are very grateful for Ian’s contribution and look forward to continuing to work with him in his advisory role, including hosting the LVMH Innovation Award. Ian has helped us integrate digital more deeply into our organizations with a sensitivity to the codes of luxury,” declared Bernard Arnault, Chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder of LVMH.
However, observers will see the shakeup, in part, as the result of the under-performance of the group’s biggest standalone internet project, 24S. Though it was launched with considerable fanfare by LVMH, and even managed to debut several of the group’s most prestigious brands – such as Louis Vuitton – in e-tailing.
However, from the beginning, 24S’ frequently tight limited-edition policy meant that the web store seemed bereft of the sort of wide-ranging selection offered by dynamic rivals like YNAP, Matches or MyTheresa. Moreover, its online editorial, which featured street casting in classical parts of Paris came across as quaint and old-fashioned.
Though the group generally doesn’t break out annual results by any of its 70-odd brands, it was also revealing that despite repeated requests from FashionNetwork.com, LVMH never made available any sales figures for 24S.
Indeed the lack of growth of 24s only appeared to darken Arnault’s opinion of online players, even Amazon. Addressing a meeting of analysts and media in LVMH headquarters in January 2019, Arnault sniffed: "They’re all losing money… That’s not a great sign. And the bigger they get, the more money they lose. We’ve been asked several times to participate in these businesses, and I’ve always said no.”
“They use their database to connect customers to sellers and they take a percentage, which leads them…to sell counterfeit products and therefore in a certain way to be linked to organized crime, because the sites that sell counterfeit products are financed by organized crime or even by terrorism,” harrumphed Arnault, the richest man in Europe, who depending on stock market prices, occasionally overtakes Jeff Bezos as the planet’s richest individual.
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