LVMH recruits Apple music executive as digital chief

French luxury giant LVMH said Tuesday it had recruited former Apple music heavyweight Ian Rogers as chief digital officer to the group that produces Louis Vuitton bags and Moet Hennessy spirits.

LVMH's announcement that Rogers will be taking over the group's digital operations in October comes after Apple confirmed Friday that Rogers was stepping down as chief executive of its Beats Electronics unit and head of its streaming music operation.

The luxury goods group said Rogers's task would be to "reinforce the digital ecosystem" across its divisions, and help them "explore new opportunities... in the digital sphere," said LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault in a statement.

"Ian will bring his extensive experience in high-end digital ventures and his innovation-driven spirit to develop LVMH leadership in the digital luxury field," he said.

Rogers joined Apple in 2014 when the company paid $3 billion for Beats, the high-end audio equipment and streaming music service created by music industry stars Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

He was part of the team that developed Apple's recently launched streaming music service, with includes the Beats 1 radio channel.

Rogers was named CEO at Beats in early 2013, and chief of its streaming music offering. He came from the music technology firm Topspin, and previously was general manager at Yahoo Music and had been the webmaster of the rap group Beastie Boys.

Analysts were not surprised by the announcement as Rogers will bring tech industry expertise and mentality to LVMH.

"This appointment is perfectly logical and foreseeable as for two years Apple has been recruiting several senior executives from the luxury industry, so it is time that luxury opens itself up to real digital talents," said Eric Briones, who consults luxury companies on their communication strategies.

Damien Douani, a new technologies expert at the FaDa consultancy said "LVMH may also have been looking for some 'cool', a quirky background, to sweep the dust off itself" as luxury companies try to freshen up their images.

LMVH's other brands include fashion icons Givenchy, Fendi, Kenzo and Donna Karan and perfumes by Christian Dior and Guerlain.

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© 2015 AFP

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