LONDON — Swarovski is rethinking the way it runs and governs the business and has, for the first time, opened its board to non-family members.
The new board includes Robert Singer, the former president and chief executive officer of Abercrombie & Fitch, and former chief financial officer of Gucci Group; Manuel Martinez, chairman of the board of Bally; Annalisa Loustau Elia, a former P&G, L’Oréal, and Cartier executive, and Luisa Delgado, whose title is lead operating director of the German toy company Schleich.
They join Swarovski family members and shareholders Robert Buchbauer, Markus Langes-Swarovski, and Mathias Margreiter on the board. Delgado has been elected to the role of chair, while Buchbauer will assume the role of vice-chair.
Swarovski said the new board took up its responsibilities earlier this week and will carry forward the already-initiated process for reappointing a new CEO and CFO. The company said the appointments will be made “with the utmost diligence,” and as quickly as possible.
As reported last month, Swarovski confirmed that Buchbauer, who took up the CEO role in 2020 following a company-wide shakeup, and Margreiter, the former CFO, were resigning, and the search for their respective successors had begun.
The company, which is based in Wattens, Austria, is working toward separating “control and management roles,” which have historically been run by the descendants of founder Daniel Swarovski.
As a result of the new strategy, Buchbauer and Margreiter, both of whom are members of the family, withdrew from day-to-day operations, but are continuing “to help shape the future of the company” as members of the board.
As a result of the sweeping governance changes, Swarovski’s next CEO and CFO could well be executives from outside the founding family for the first time in the company’s 126-year history.
Swarovski said last month that it is open to the possibility of non-family management and that it plans to reorganize and expand the various boards of the company “to qualified, independent persons.”
The family interests, meanwhile, will be bundled in the newly established family holding company.
Buchbauer’s departure was unexpected: He took over as CEO last April in a major reshuffle that saw his relative Nadja Swarovski leave the day-to-day operations of the company.
The London-based Nadja Swarovski immediately turned her attention to the Swarovski Foundation, which she created in 2013 and which has sustainability, environmental and social issues at its core.
Shortly after taking up the top role last year, Buchbauer culled some 600 positions as part of his restructuring plan, with the COVID-19 crisis adding urgency to his efforts at the family-owned crystal-maker.