Complex Made Simple

Not one, not two, but three CEO shakeups in the watchmaking world

The watchmaking industry is witnessing a new CEO shakeup once again.

The management shakeup at Richemont Group, the company that owns several of the world’s leading companies in the field of luxury goods, began in November 2016.

Most of the changes were internal transfers with incumbent CEO moving to board level posts and second-rung management being given a shot at occupying the vacated positions.

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In 2017, Richemont witnessed the departure of four CEOs (JLC, Vacheron, Piaget, Dunhill), according to Monochrome, a website reporting the latest in the watchmaking industry.

“As well as the appointment of Lambert as Head of Operations and Kern as Head of Watchmaking, Marketing, and Digital,” it added, “everything was planned until Kern announced his departure for Breitling, which led Lambert to be appointed COO of all the Maisons.”

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Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC)

Jaeger-LeCoultre a Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer based in Le Sentier, Switzerland, has been struggling without a proper CEO for the last 12 months.

The head of the Grande Maison was in the hands of Geoffroy Lefebvre, Deputy CEO.

Today, the Richemont Group is about to announce a new (and this time non-deputy) CEO for the brand, replacing Lefebvre with Catherine Alix-Renier, formerly chief of Van Cleef & Arpels, effective May 1st, reported Business Montres, the daily of the watchmaking business.

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Baume et Mercier (B&M)

Alain Zimmermann, the current CEO of B&M, a Swiss luxury watchmaker, subsidiary of the Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont, will change position as of 1st June and will become Head of E-Commerce for the entire Richemont Group, a newly created position, Business Montres reported.

Geoffroy Lefebvre (currently Deputy CEO of JLC) will replace him at B&M.

This has been announced internally to Richemont employees in several internal notes signed by Emmanuel Perrin (Head of Specialist Watchmakers Distribution at Compagnie Financière Richemont SA), again according to Business Montres.

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Panerai, a luxury Italian watch manufacturer, is undergoing some changes as well, according to Le Temps, a Swiss French-language daily newspaper.

It has been announced that Jean-Marc Pontroué (ex-Roger Dubuis, luxury watches and jewellery founded by Carlos Dias and Roger Dubuis) will replace Angelo Bonati at Panerai.

No new CEO has been officially announced yet to head Roger Dubuis.