Roberta Novello

Human Resources Director, DFS, Italy

© Studio Kippik

Roberta Novello has held a variety of human resources positions with LVMH Group Houses over the past 20 years. Her extensive experience is an invaluable asset as she helps execute a complex project, the opening in Venice of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, DFS’ first European location.

“I’m fascinated with people. Everyone is different and continually changes. To interact with people you need flexibility, curiosity and empathy. Following my studies in literature and classical Greek, my passion for people led me to seek a career in human resources. After obtaining a master in human resources management my first job was as HR development manager at Sephora. I then spent 20 years working in HR in Italy, mainly as human resources manager at Céline and then head of HR for Louis Vuitton in Italy. I think the main reason I’ve spent my career within LVMH is because at this level of skills, managing exceptional talents is a real challenge. There is a huge choice of attractive opportunities in terms of different segments, corporate cultures and skills.

My current role is a perfect example. After beauty and haute couture I’m now in selective retailing for a specific mission. In September 2015 DFS gave me responsibility for human resources in Italy. The objective, with a one-year horizon, was to ramp up an organization of 400 people for DFS Group’s first store in Europe, the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi. This is an incredibly exciting project. Beyond the tight deadline and the number of people to be recruited, you need an intimate understanding of a new market for a company that was created in the United States and which has since grown primarily in Asia. In this regard the powerful identity and extensive expertise of DFS, combined with the experience of the LVMH Group in Europe are key success factors. Equally important is our ability to define priorities, particularly by first putting together a robust human resources team. Our head of talent management has a dual Chinese-Italian culture and deep experience in the luxury industry. And our compensation and benefits manager has extensive experience in this area in the Italian market, coupled with in-depth knowledge of international practices. At the same time, we haven’t hesitated to innovate and take risks, for example by choosing individuals whose distinctive personalities mesh with our obsession with excellence, rather than just looking at degrees. Another good example is our head of training and development, who was born in Venice and previously worked in Shanghai as an operational advisor in the fashion sector.

Today, I’m tremendously pleased with everything we’ve accomplished and with the synergies we’ve identified. This initiative confirms how complex and unique environments can really motivate people and give us a clear vision of future success. In moments like these it’s equally inspiring to look at our history and our roots. The DNA of human resources at DFS resonates more powerfully than ever with the “Future of Tradition”.