New York, NY November 20, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored French business leader François-Henri Pinault for setting a standard in corporate responsibility in his efforts to raise awareness about discrimination against women and other minorities.
Pinault, the Chairman and CEO of Kering, the international lifestyle, luxury and sports apparel group, received the ADL International Leadership Award in recognition of his demonstrated commitment to the values of social responsibility and making the world a better place for all.
The award was presented to Mr. Pinault by his longtime friend, Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda, at a dinner Wednesday night at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Before accepting the award on behalf of Kering’s 32,000 employees globally, Mr. Pinault reflected on the terrorist attacks in Paris and called it a turning point similar to the 9/11 attacks against America.
“The events of last Friday were a nightmare,” he said. “They were an attempt to destroy our youth, our freedom and our values. But they will not succeed. Make no mistake about it – November 13 represents a turning point. Our democracy in France is being challenged today just as America was challenged on 9/11.”
Kering is a family-owned, French publicly traded company with a portfolio consisting of 22 luxury and sport and lifestyle brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and PUMA, among others. In 2009, Mr. Pinault founded the Kering Foundation, which fights violence against women. So far, the foundation has helped more than 140,000 women, and there have been 47 partnerships with local and international nongovernmental organizations around the world to fight violence against women.
“Under Francois-Henri Pinault’s stewardship, Kering has become a leading light in promoting gender equality, in campaigning for better education, health and justice for women, and in raising consciousness about one of the most prevalent but little talked about social issues of our time – violence against women,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We admire Kering’s commitment to improving the lives of underprivileged, undereducated women around the world, to confronting discrimination against women head on, and funding programs that work on the ground, as well as encouraging and sponsoring employees to work on these projects.”
“Both of our countries have women who are symbols of freedom, yet in neither country can women be truly free or equal until we stop the violence against them and support their development,” said Mr. Pinault, referring to “Lady Liberty” in New York Harbor and France’s “Marianne.”
He added, “Let’s all work to end violence against women and create a condition for their success in a world where the fundamentals of democracy are protected and are advanced by our personal engagement in all we do.”
The ADL award was presented to Mr. Pinault at a tribute dinner in his honor at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The program included a performance by Argentine singer-songwriter Mia Maestro and remarks from Susan D. Plagemann, Chief Revenue Officer and Publisher of Vogue; Maurice Lévy, CEO of Publicis Groupe; Jonathan Newhouse, CEO and Chairman of Condé Nast International; and Bernard-Henri Lévy, French author, philosopher and media personality. The evening was hosted by actress Ashley Judd. Among the luminaries in attendance were actress Salma Hayek, (Mr. Pinault’s wife), actor Bradley Cooper and model Liu Wen. Maurice Levy and Susan D. Plagemann were Chairs of the event.
“I strongly believe in ADL’s ideals and core values of fairness, equality and mutual respect,” Mr. Pinault said in accepting the award, a bronze Rodin-inspired sculpture of two right hands, symbolizing unity. “As a father, I am even more grateful for what ADL is doing to ensure that our children grow up in a world without hatred. In 2009, I created the Kering Foundation which is dedicated to fighting violence against women. I believe that each one of us bears a share of responsibility to stand up for women whose dignity and integrity are abused. In line with our long-standing engagement in solidarity initiatives, my wish is for Kering to stand by the side of women across the world.”
The ADL International Leadership Award honors those who combine corporate success with a profound commitment to community involvement and to crossing borders and barriers with a message of cultural diversity and equal opportunity. Past recipients include Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google; Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE; Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen; Rupert Murdoch, CEO of the News Corporation; Maurice Levy, CEO of the Publicis Groupe; Jack Kliger, CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media; and Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, CEO of L’Oreal.