By  on December 12, 2006

PARIS — Shoring up management after the departure of Christian Bedat, Gucci Group has appointed William Devine, a Swiss watch veteran, to head its Bedat & Co. high-end timepieces brand.

Devine, 40, who has held executive positions at Universal Watches, Roberge Watches and De Grisogono, will report to Jean-Christophe Bedos, chief executive officer of Boucheron, the Paris jewelry house that also belongs to Gucci.

Devine's industry experience includes directing the Basel World jewelry and watch show in 2002 as well as orchestrating the sale of the Poiray jewelry business to Alliance Designers, which is owned by French entrepreneur Alain Dumenil.

"[Devine's] wide experience in managing and developing luxury timepiece businesses will prove invaluable," Robert Polet, president and ceo of Gucci Group, said in a statement. "I am confident that under the continued guidance of Jean-Christophe Bedos, William, together with the high caliber team already in place, will realize the full potential of Bedat & Co."

Devine comes to Bedat at a time of transition for the young brand, which was founded in 1996 by Christian Bedat and his mother, Simone Bedat, one of the founders of Raymond Weil.

Bedat surprised the industry when he stepped down as creative director and ceo of his namesake brand in October after he butted heads with Gucci over management issues. The charismatic Bedat had earned widespread kudos for his creative and elegant precision watches. His tonneau model No. 3 was seen as a breakthrough success, especially in the United States.

Bedat sold an 85 percent stake in his firm to Gucci Group in 2000, as Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole cobbled together their new luxury group. Bedat sold his outstanding shares to Gucci last year.

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