Luxury titan Pinault gives up part of salary over virus

PARIS (AFP) – Francois-Henri Pinault, the head of French luxury group Kering, has agreed to give up a quarter of his fixed wages for the rest of the year and the entirety of his variable compensation for 2020, the company said yesterday.

The luxury group which includes labels such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta in its stable, put the move down to “the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on economic activity”.

While the luxury sector largely bucked a slowdown in global growth last year due to the China-US trade war, the closure of non-essential shops by many governments to stem the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted their business badly. Pinault’s fixed wages have been set at 1.2 million euros annually since 2017.

As for what he would have received in variable remuneration, it depends on the company’s performance, but he is set to receive EUR947,000 for last year after EUR1.9 million in 2018.

Last month Kering said it expected a drop of 13-14 per cent in sales in the first three months of the year, when China, a key market, imposed a massive lockdown which it is only now easing.

Pinault is the latest in a series of executives worldwide to reduce their compensation as many firms have been forced to furlough staff to cut other costs to survive the crisis.