Sydney ‘Toledano (Dior’s Chief Executive ) is one of the longest-serving chief executives in the luxury industry, As the industry (5) goes global, he must balance the demands of shareholders and the values of a historic label, the need for exclusivity and the need for expansion. (10) He routinely communicates with his demanding boss, Bernard Amault, main shareholder of Christian Dior, and a number of creative types, including Dior’s clothes designer (15) John Galliano and jewellery designer Victoire de Castellane. ‘’The best advice I ever got was that, when times are bad, you need to get out of the office; when (20) things are good, you can spend time on the organisation,’’ says Mr Toledano, who travels almost every week to one of Dior’s 224 stores round the world. “You have to (25) look for newness, look for what is happening next. Forget the calculator Understand the people from different countries and what they want.” It was by spending time in China in (30) the 1980s, for example, when he worked at the French leather-goods house Lancel, that Mr. Toledano first realised China would one day be prime territory for luxury.
(35) ‘I met some factory owners, and they were working so hard, but then they would bring you to a restaurant and it was clear they wanted to enjoy life,’ he says. (40) ‘And I thought: one day these people are going to have money and they are going to spend it.’ A few years later, Bernard Amault contacted him. “The (45) interview took 15 minutes. He knew exactly what he wanted,” says Mr Toledano: to take a small couture house he had bought out of bankruptcy and build it (50) into the biggest luxury group in the world. Mr. Arnault has used Dior to create LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moét Hennessy, the world’s largest luxury group). ‘ Christian, Dior can double. in five years,’ he says. “There may be difficult times coming, but if you look at the Middle East, China, even Europe, I believe there is growth (60) coming, and we have to develop our network and perfect our supply chain.” The next wave of luxury buyers is now in the new territories: the Middle East, Russia, (65) Hong Kong and South Korea. Mr. Toledano believes not only that a brand should go to its customers but that it should anticipate their needs and invest (70) early in markets that may not show real growth for up to six years.