Yves Carcelle, who was 66 and an energetic, self-made man who headed Louis Vuitton for more than two decades until 2012, died on Sunday. "A tireless traveller, Yves was a pioneer," said Bernard Arnault, chief executive and founder of parent company LVMH.
"Always curious, passionate and in motion, he was one of the most inspiring leaders of men and women whom I have ever had the privilege of knowing."
Louis Vuitton is the biggest profit and cash generator for LVMH, the world's leading luxury group which owns more than 60 brands including fashion labels Christian Dior, Celine and Fendi, jeweller Bulgari and cognac maker Hennessy.
Carcelle, a charismatic manager who inspired his teams to work as much as he did, including at weekends, was regarded as the smooth implementer of Arnault's global ambitions for Louis Vuitton.
"He led the industry into retail away from the wholesale model and played a key role in the development of the global luxury goods industry," said Julian Easthope, a luxury goods analyst at Barclays.
Louis Vuitton was an industry trailblazer, one of the first major luxury brands to only sell its goods in directly operated shops and never offer discounts.
During his tenure, Carcelle quadrupled Louis Vuitton's store network to just under 470, many of them in emerging markets such as China. He grew the brand's revenue from an estimated €500 million in 1990 to more than €7bn (£5.5bn) and oversaw its diversification into watches, jewellery and into ready-to-wear under American designer Marc Jacobs.