By  on April 20, 2005

PARIS — Compagnie Financiere Richemont, the Swiss luxury group, on Tuesday appointed Stanislas de Quercize as president and chief executive of Paris-based jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. The appointment confirms an April 7 report in WWD.

De Quercize will move over to Van Cleef from Cartier, Richemont’s cash cow, which he has guided in North America as president and ceo for the last three years. He will succeed Isabelle Guichot, who left Van Cleef in January for Gucci Group, where she is director of business development and also ceo of Sergio Rossi.

De Quercize, an energetic and affable manager who also has experience at Richemont’s Mont Blanc and Alfred Dunhill brands, is slated to begin at Van Cleef here in September.

Until then, Michel Patout will continue as interim chief executive, a position he took on Guichot’s departure. On de Quercize’s arrival, Patout will return to his role as Van Cleef’s chief financial officer.

Though Van Cleef is much smaller than Cartier, the brand has garnered a higher profile in recent years, presenting a greater range of high jewelry creations, courting the fashion media and developing its range of accessible products.

At this month’s watch and jewelry fair in Geneva, the house presented a watch based on its Alhambra design, a tourbillon men’s watch, as well as a raft of fine jewelry creations. 

Though Richemont doesn’t break out sales figures for individual brands, the firm said revenues at its jewelry houses — Van Cleef and Cartier — rose 12 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Founded in 1894, Van Cleef has long catered to luminaries, from Romy Schneider and Grace Kelly to Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor. Richemont bought a 60 percent stake in Van Cleef in 1999 for about $325 million. It purchased an additional 20 percent of the brand in 2001 and took total control of it in 2003.

Richemont’s strategy for Van Cleef has been to slowly bolster its profile by opening stores around the world. Van Cleef presently counts 43 stores, 34 of which are wholly owned. Last January, the brand unveiled a flagship on London’s Bond Street, designed by Anouska Hempel.A Richemont spokesman said Van Cleef would open a “single digit” number of stores this year, focusing on growing business in Asia, the U.S. and Eastern Europe.

Among Richemont’s other brands are Chloé, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Pannerai, IWC and Baume & Mercier.

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