ZURICH, Switzerland — Richemont plans to name new chief executive officers for four of its luxury brands including Vacheron Constantin and Dunhill, according to a person familiar with the situation, expanding its overhaul of senior management.
Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Daniel Riedo is leaving the company at the end of February for other opportunities, while the heads of Piaget and Vacheron Constantin are retiring, the person said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Dunhill will gain a new CEO who formerly worked at Burberry Group Plc, the person said.
The changes were already in the works in November, when the Swiss luxury-goods maker eliminated the company-wide CEO position, the person said. Three of the four CEOs come from watchmakers, which are emerging from their worst year for exports since 2009. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert has said the company needs to name younger managers who are in tune with what luxury consumers want.
The changes would “reflect a more nimble and streamlined executive model,” John Guy, an analyst at MainFirst Bank AG, wrote in a note to clients.
Vacheron Constantin CEO Juan-Carlos Torres and Piaget CEO Philippe Leopold-Metzger will remain non-executive presidents, the person said. Georges Kern, currently IWC CEO, will take on the Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO position on an interim basis as he becomes head of all watchmaking at Richemont, the person said.
Last year, Cyrille Vigneron took over management of Richemont’s Cartier brand, which has cut jobs, repurchased unsold watches and refocused on less expensive models.
“I want to see less grey men, less grey Frenchmen, as a subcategory,” on the board, Rupert said at a meeting with investors in November. “We have too few women. We don’t have enough diversity.”
The changes show Richemont is reacting to the downturn, said Zuzanna Pusz, an analyst at Berenberg. She added that the “departure of another four executives responsible for an estimate 15 percent of total business could cause some short-term concerns” by disrupting the brands.
Richemont makes watches under 12 brands including Ralph Lauren and Baume & Mercier. The company said on January 12 that sales of timepieces in its own stores returned to growth in the three months through December.
By Corinne Gretler; editors: Matthew Boyle and Thomas Mulier.