By  on August 17, 2017
Patrick Pruniaux

PARIS — French luxury conglomerate Kering has tapped an Apple Inc. executive to head its Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin.Patrick Pruniaux, who has also worked for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watch brand Tag Heuer, has been recruited to speed up the brand’s international expansion, Kering said in a statement Thursday.The move comes as watch brands increasingly eye the business of connected devices, with two of LVMH’s watch brands, Tag Heuer and Louis Vuitton already launching smartwatches.RELATED STORY: Louis Vuitton Launches Smartwatch With Google >>The chief executive officer of Kering’s luxury division Albert Bensoussan cited Pruniaux’s experience in the watches sector as key to developing the brand’s “cutting-edge technical expertise and unique identity.”Pruniaux will replace current ceo Patrik Hoffmann, who has worked to fold the brand into the group after Kering purchased it in 2014, and is leaving for personal reasons, according to the statement. Bensoussan said Hoffmann had made a “pivotal contribution” to the “growth and reputation of Ulysse Nardin for almost two decades.”The appointment is effective Aug. 28.Pruniaux joins from Apple where he has run the company’s British and Ireland operations, served on the company's executive committee in the Europe, Middle East and African regions and was involved in the launch of the Apple watch.Before joining Apple in 2014, Pruniaux worked for Tag Heuer, where he directed international exports and in 2010 became vice president of global sales and retail.SEE MORE FROM WWD.COM:Tag Heuer Releases Another Smartwatch Powered by Intel >>Google Getting Fashionable With Smartwatches >>Watching Apple and the Smartwatch Market >>

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