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Women Leaders in Fashion Business: Yves Saint Laurent’s (YSL) Valerie Hermann


Code : FMB0007

Year :

Industry :General Business

Region : US

Teaching Note:Available

Structured Assignment : Available

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Introduction: In 2007, the fashion industry witnessed many revolutionary changes. There was a revival of many iconic fashion brands in terms of organisational structures, supply chain activities, innovation and technology. These changes enabled the fashion houses to manage their finances and resist the unpredictability in demand patterns of customers. The corporatisation of this industry brought in significant changes in gender role too. Women, entered boardrooms rather than confining themselves to creative work. The year saw the rise of women in corporate – who not only donned the role of executives of big companies but also proved themselves as turnaround CEOs.

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), a global iconic fashion house – acclaimed as ‘the national treasure of France’– was ailing with losses for more than a decade. But the leadership of Valerie Hermann (Valerie) resuscitated the brand. Since her appointment as YSL’s CEO, the losses have come down from €66 million ($78.14 million) in 20054 to €31.9 million ($46.57 million) in 20075 . Although YSL is recuperating, the brand is yet to break even. In the light of ever changing fashion industry’s dynamics (including the growth of fashion boutiques from emergingmarkets) a lot is left on the table for Valerie.

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