>> Yesterday, after Hermes once again publicly called for LVMH to sell half of its more than 20 percent stake in the brand, LVMH vice chairman Pierre Gode took the floor at the Hermes shareholder meeting to respond.
He asserted that LVMH is a legitimate shareholder, and that it is peaceful, but not passive. "Contrary to any impression given elsewhere, LVMH has never sought to destabilize the Hermes family nor the company’s staff nor suppliers. I challenge those who assert otherwise to produce a shred of evidence — for the avoidance of doubt, there is none,” Gode said.
He continued: “LVMH directors are rational and lucid people. From the outset we understood that there was no possibility of controlling Hermes because the family shareholders spoke for 70 percent of the company. That aside, it would make no sense for LVMH to destabilize Hermes as it would risk compromising the success of this great company. The more this company prospers, the happier we all are as shareholders."
When minority shareholders joined the meeting's debate, one accused LVMH of being “deceitful” and “hypocritical.” Gode replied in a heated exchange: “I cannot accept remarks which are purely slanderous and insulting, including those made at a general assembly.” He added, to boos from other shareholders: “I expect the board to police the proceedings. The least you could do, and this is what we do at LVMH, is to guarantee a certain level of courtesy in the debate."