ZURICH — Rolex has tapped Zenith honcho Jean-Frédéric Dufour as its new chief executive officer.
Dufour, 45, is to take over from Gian Riccardo Marini. His start date has not been set.
At the management helm of Zenith, the most thoroughbred of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s stable of watch brands, since 2009, Dufour has also worked at Chopard, Swatch Group’s Blancpain subsidiary and independent firm Ulysse Nardin.
Dufour is Rolex’s third ceo since 2008 — an extraordinary turnover for a company that has only had six bosses in its 109-year history.
Marini, already in his 60s, was enlisted as a “safe pair of hands” after the surprise departure in 2011 of Bruno Meier, the group’s former chief financial officer, previously a top executive at Deutsche Bank’s Geneva-based private banking operation.
Meier’s was a shock appointment, promoted to the ceo slot after the sudden departure in 2008 of Patrick Heiniger, son of a legendary former Rolex boss and who was in the top job for 16 years. Heiniger died last year.
“I think there is a conflict within the organization between the modernizers, who want to see faster development and more innovation, and more traditionalists, who want to see a more steady-as-she-goes approach and blame overexposure to greater China for current woes,” said Jon Cox, head of Swiss equities at broker Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich.
Geneva-based Rolex, controlled by a foundation created by its founding family, boasts annual revenues estimated at $5 billion.
Rolex watchers, sometimes compared with Kremlinologists in their meticulous analysis of every rare snippet of news, interpreted the upheaval as dissatisfaction with Rolex’s performance at a time of growing competition — notably from Swatch Group’s resurgent Omega brand and Compagnie Financière Richemont’s IWC.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion