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Audemars Piguet Names Ilaria Resta as New CEO

The world’s second-biggest independent watch brand has named a veteran perfume and consumer-goods executive to lead its next chapter.
A gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch
The popularity of Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak helped the brand surpass annual sales of 2 billion Swiss francs in 2022. (Diode SA - Denis Hayoun)

Audemars Piguet has named veteran perfume and consumer-goods executive Ilaria Resta to succeed outgoing chief executive François-Henry Bennahmias, who transformed the independent Swiss watchmaker into one of the industry’s most coveted brands.

Resta will join the company in August, working closely with Bennahmias during a transition period before taking up the CEO role on January 1, 2024.

A portrait of Ilaria Resta
Ilaria Resta will succeed François-Henry Bennahmias as chief executive of Audemars Piguet. (Philippe Wiget)

Resta joins Audemars Piguet from Firmenich, where she served as president of global perfumery and ingredients during a pivotal period as the fragrance company prepared its merger with Dutch group DSM. Prior to that, she worked at Procter & Gamble, spending more than two decades at the firm in senior roles across the US and European divisions.

During Bennahmias tenure, Audemars Piguet has boomed, recently overtaking Patek Philippe to become the world’s second-largest independent watch brand. Over the past five years, company sales more than doubled to surpass 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion) in 2022.

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As chief executive, Resta is tasked with continuing to develop the AP brand and strengthening its direct connection to clients, brand chairman Alessandro Bogliolo said in a statement.

”Her proven record of delivering results through a clear strategic thinking based on deep consumer insights will keep AP’s legacy relevant for generations to come and ensure long lasting growth,” he said.

Earlier this year, Bennahmias’s impending exit coupled with Bogliolo’s appointment as chairman last November set off speculation about a potential sale of Audemars Piguet (Bogliolo, an Italian luxury executive with a reputation for selling luxury businesses at a high price, was behind the blockbuster sale of Tiffany & Co. to LVMH in 2020). However, in a March interview with BoF, Bennahmias denied there were any intentions to sell the company after his departure.

“We are extremely firm on the message that we’ve been delivering for ever, saying that we are very proud of our independence, and we’ll keep working that way,” he told BoF.

Learn more:

How Audemars Piguet Became Swiss Watchmaking’s Hottest Brand

The brand known for $50,000 Royal Oak watches transformed itself into a megabrand with $2.2 billion in annual sales by taking control of its distribution and forging culturally relevant partnerships. Outgoing CEO François-Henry Bennahmias breaks down the strategy.

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