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Changing Chanel: Banana’s Chiquet Said Succeeding Kopelman

Chanel Inc. is said to have a successor lined up for president and chief operating officer Arie Kopelman: Banana Republic president Maureen Chiquet.

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Although Kopelman holds the title of president and chief operating officer of Chanel Inc. and reports to Alain Wertheimer, chairman of Chanel SA, his role has extended internationally over the years to take on a more visible global impact on the company. It had largely been assumed that the company would look outside for a successor, much as Kopelman was discovered from Doyle Dane Bernbach, a Boston advertising agency, more than 15 years ago, where he had worked on Chanel’s ad account.

Despite the pressure that faced Europe’s luxury conglomerates, Kopelman is credited with forging strong relations with retailers and magazine publishers — keeping Chanel, which is privately owned by the Wertheimer family, in high standing as one of the world’s great brand names with global sales of about $2 billion — and maintaining the sophisticated appeal of the brand’s business side, much as designer Karl Lagerfeld, whose contract runs until 2004, has contributed to keeping its fashion looking modern.
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