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Shadow a CEO Programme Report: Kering provides a unique branded experience

As the luxury group that owns brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Gucci, Kering provided a gratifying glimpse into the world of high-end goods for three female students taking part in the Shadow a CEO Programme.

Carlo Imò, president of Kering Asia Pacific, explained to his shadows Kering’s vision for the luxury industry, focusing on sustainability initiatives and business practices that make a positive contribution to people, society and the planet.

A staff forum, meanwhile, gave them the chance to see how leaders at Kering engage with staff, and how the company tries to empower women and promote gender diversity.

Imò found his shadows to be creative, curious and confident. “They thought outside of the box, came up with creative ideas, and were brave enough to organise their thoughts and present within a short time,” he said.

Florence Leung, a third-year business management student at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said she gained good insight into the luxury retail industry from departmental sharing sessions and advice from the HR team. She now feels that she has a more nuanced understanding of her career options.

“Taking part in the programme has not only enriched my CV, but boosted my confidence about pursuing my future career,” she said.

Christine Law, a graduate from City University, said spending three days with Imò demonstrated just how challenging it is to oversee an entire business.

“A good CEO needs to be capable of rising to infinite challenges and have a strong sense of perseverance. Carlo showed us that he has the toughness required to run a large business,” she said.

Law also learned that a charismatic leader like Imò can motivate staff to execute a company’s vision.

“Carlo’s personal support of initiatives that attempt to empower women and promote sustainable luxury retail is the very reason why the company has achieved so much in these two areas,” she said.

Law added that the programme provided useful insights into day-to-day business operations and gave her a better idea of how teams are structured within a company.

“Exchanges with the communication, media and HR departments gave me a clearer picture of their respective roles and responsibilities,” she said. “This helped me consider different career paths and fuelled my interest in the luxury retail industry.”

Lo Wing-yau, a graduate from Chinese University, said the highlight of the programme was having lunch with Imò, where the shadows got the chance to learn more about the personal challenges of being a CEO, such as achieving good work-life balance.

Another key lesson was delivered on the importance of managing multiple stakeholders. “The CEO has to be familiar with the needs and concerns of every stakeholder and balance their needs while maximising the value of the company,” Lo said.

She added that the programme gave her unique insight into the luxury retail industry that would have been difficult to acquire elsewhere.

“The three days of shadowing gave me a more in-depth understanding of the company than any interview or assessment centre could provide.”


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Kering provides a unique branded experience.