Education: MBA In Human Resource Management (Gold Medalist)
Husband: Kumar Nair
Age: 52 Years
Some Lesser Known Facts About Leena Nair
- Leena Nair is a British businesswoman of Indian origin who was appointed as the new global chief executive of French fashion giant Chanel on 14 December 2021.
- She grew up in a large joint family in Kolhapur. Her family was very conservative and did not believe in educating girls well. However, Leena always desired to achieve something big in her life. In an interview, she shared that she once had to fight for her education when she was in her teens.
- After graduating as a gold medalist from Xavier School of Management (XLRI), Jamshedpur, Leena joined Unilever (Hindustan Unilever Limited) as a management trainee in 1992.
- At Unilever, she opted for factory roles. At that time, there were hardly any female employees who opted for factory roles.
- After working as a management trainee for a year, Leena was promoted to the position of Factory Personnel Manager of Lipton (India) Ltd. (1993). Meanwhile, she worked at different factories of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) located in Kolkata (West Bengal), Ambattur (Tamil Nadu), and Taloja (Maharashtra).
- In 1996, she was promoted to the position of Employee Relations Manager of Hindustan Lever.
- In 1997, she attained the position of Management Development Planning Manager, and by 2000, she was elevated as HR Manager of Hindustan Lever India.
- Leena assumed the position of Human Resource Manager of Home and Personal Care India in 2003 and was subsequently, promoted to the General Manager HR of Home and Personal Care India, a year later.
- Next, Nair was elevated to the position of General Manager HR of Hindustan Lever India (2006).
- In 2007, Leena was made the executive director of HR of HUL; the first and the youngest woman in the Management Committee of Hindustan Unilever to head HR.
- She was also the first woman to be on the Unilever South Asia Leadership Team.
- In 2013, Leena was given charge of the senior vice-president HR of Unilever at its London headquarters. As the senior vice-president HR, she was responsible for leadership and organizational development.
- In the same year, she became the global head of diversity in Unilever and took the responsibility for the growth of Unilever in different markets like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
- In 2016, Leena assumed the position of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of Unilever; becoming the first female to hold that position at Unilever. While addressing the employees at Unilever, she said that as a CHRO her goal was to build a comprehensive environment at the organisation where all the members from different backgrounds can contribute and succeed in equal measures. She said,
My purpose is to ignite the human spark to build a better business and a better world.”
- At Unilever, Leena oversaw around 1,50,000 people.
- Nair was also a part of the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE).
- In December 2021, Leena stepped down from the position of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of Anglo-Dutch FMCG major Unilever to join the French luxury fashion brand Chanel as its Global Chief Executive.
- After being named the global chief executive of the luxury fashion group Chanel, Leena said,
I am humbled and honoured to be appointed the Global Chief Executive Officer of @CHANEL, an iconic and admired company. I am so inspired by what @CHANEL stands for. It is a company that believes in the freedom of creation, in cultivating human potential, and in acting to have a positive impact in the world. I am grateful for my long career at @Unilever, a place that has been my home for 30 years. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to a truly purpose-driven organisation.”
- After Leena resigned from her position of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of Uniliver, Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever thanked her for her outstanding contribution to the firm for over three decades and said,
Leena has been a pioneer throughout her career at Unilever, but no more so than in her role as CHRO, where she has been a driving force on our equity, diversity and inclusion agenda, on the transformation of our leadership development, and on our preparedness for the future of work. She has played a critical role in building our purpose-led, future-fit organisation, which is now the employer of choice in over 50 countries globally.”
- In her spare time, Leena likes reading books, running, and dancing to Bollywood songs.
- She is well-versed in five languages- Hindi, English, Malayalam, Marathi, and Spanish.
- In an interview, Leena shared an incident from her childhood. She said,
When I was a little girl, my aunt came home from a trip with a pair of jeans for me. I loved them! But I couldn’t wear them outside: I wasn’t allowed. It became a huge family drama. Luckily, I had a lot of female cousins who took my side. The short story is, I got to wear jeans.”
- During an interview, Nair shared that she enjoyed addressing the public.
- In an interview, when asked about her learning mantra, Leena replied, “Learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
- Nair became the first female, first Asian, and the youngest ever Chief Human Resource Officer of Unilever in 2016.
- Leena is the second Indian-origin woman to take over as global CEO of a company; the first being Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo.