Patrick Thomas, a former CEO of Hermès International, and Jasmine Whitbread, an executive with extensive expertise on ESG issues, have been nominated to the board of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA.
Their appointments are subject to the approval of shareholders at Richemont’s annual general meeting on Sept. 8. Whitbread and Thomas are to serve as non-executive directors and become members of the board’s nominations committee, Richemont said in an ad hoc announcement on Thursday morning.
The company had previously flagged plans to evolve its governance.
Earlier this month, Richemont said Cyrille Vigneron, president and chief executive officer of Cartier, and Nicolas Bos, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, would step down from the senior executive committee and not seek reelection to the board of directors, while continuing to report directly to Richemont chairman Johann Rupert.
“The outstanding development of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, in particular, means that these businesses have reached a size and scale that require the full attention of their leaders and support of the group to continue on their remarkable trajectory,” Rupert explained at the time. “These governance changes will allow Maison and business executives to focus exclusively on their customers, colleagues, partners and the sustainable development of their entities at a time when the world is changing rapidly and growing in complexity.”
On Thursday, Richemont noted that non-executive director Gary Saage would not seek reelection to the board of directors next month. He was appointed to the board in 2010 when he became group chief financial officer of Richemont, and has since served as a non-executive director and a member of the nominations committee.
Saage is to retain his position as chairman of Richemont North America and a director of Peter Millar LLC.
Richemont also noted that non-executive directors Jan Rupert and Ruggero Magnoni would not seek reelection at the 2022 AGM.
“I would like to warmly thank Gary for his considerable contributions to the group including the board and the commitment and collegiality he has displayed over the years,” Johann Rupert said in a statement. “His institutional knowledge and understanding of the issues faced by the group have contributed enormously to Richemont’s continued success.”
As for the additions of Thomas and Whitbread, Rupert said “both bring unrivaled experience and expertise in areas of great importance to the group. I am certain that Jasmine’s focus on ESG and Patrick’s successful career in soft luxury will be invaluable as we embark on the next stage of our development.”
Richemont recently added to its leather goods holdings by acquiring Belgian handbag specialist Delvaux.
Whitbread is currently non-executive chair of Travis Perkins PLC, a non-executive director of Standard Chartered plc and WPP plc, a visiting fellow at Oxford University and an adviser to Richemont’s governance and sustainability committee. She has previously served as CEO of Save the Children International and London First.
Thomas was CEO at Hermès from 2003 until 2014 and was the first and only non-family manager of the French luxury brand. He had been its chief operating officer from 1989 to 1997. Before that, he held senior management roles at Lancaster Group and Pernod Ricard.
At present, Thomas is chairman of the supervisory board of Champagne maker Laurent Perrier, chairman of the supervisory board of Ardian, lead independent director of Teleperformance, non-executive director of MycoWorks, and non-executive director at Shang Xia.