She is the author of Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership & Success on Our Own Terms (Harper Business, 2017).
Chiquet was born as Maureen Cathy Popkin in St.Louis, Missouri, in 1963, where she attended John Burroughs School. She studied at Yale University in Connecticut, where she graduated with a degree in literature with an emphasis in film. Unsure of what career to pursue after graduation, she reportedly left mid-way through a Law School Admission Test. Chiquet went on to do a marketing internship at L'Oréal Paris, work she later described as "the beginning of my career and love affair with the world of beauty and fashion".
Chiquet returned to the U.S. in 1988, joining Gap Inc. as an assistant merchandiser in San Francisco. She received praise in 1994 for helping launch the Old Navy brand, which soon became a leading part of the business, worth a total of $5 billion. She went on to become executive vice president of merchandising, planning and production.
In 2002, she briefly joined another Gap subsidiary, Banana Republic and later said that leaving the company to join Chanel was the most important decision of her career. A year after joining Chanel in 2003, she was appointed of president of Chanel in the U.S., responsible for fragrance and beauty, fashion, watches and fine jewellery divisions. When Chanel restructured in 2007, Chiquet became company-wide CEO.
Chiquet left Chanel in January 2016, citing "strategic differences." The company's statement said Chiquet oversaw "successful international expansion of the House of Chanel, enhanced its luxury positioning and timeless image, and grew the business in all categories. She also established a truly global organization and enhanced the culture and leadership of the company."
In April 2016, she was invited to give the opening keynote for the New York Times Luxury Conference in Versailles. Her speech traced her own leadership journey, and urged attendees to "start close in" with their own company cultures and leadership initiatives as a way of facing increasing industry disruption and connecting with 21st century luxury consumers.
Chiquet's book, Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership & Success on Our Own Terms, is due for release by Harper Business April 18, 2017. Written as a leadership memoir of revealing personal stories and provocative questions, Chiquet wrote the book to "open up the aperture through which we look at the world. I want us to reconsider what it means to be a woman, a mentor, a wife, a mother." Chiquet puts particular emphasis on the importance of integrating feminine leadership into existing corporate structures. "Why should we separate art from business, feelings from logic, intuition from judgment? Who decided you can’t be determined and flexible, introspective and attuned, mother and top executive? And where does it state standing unflinchingly in your vulnerability, embracing your femininity, won’t make you stronger?"
Portfolio magazine credited Chiquet with transforming Chanel into "the single most valuable fashion brand", growing it to be worth $6.2 billion.
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- Fastenberg, Dan (18 November 2010). "Maureen Chiquet". Time. Retrieved 26 December 2013.