After a rocky ride for luxury goods in the past year, Richemont’s skeptical, straight-talking Johann Rupert will take over in April as interim chief executive officer of the company, parent of brands including Cartier, IWC and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Rupert, a South Africa native whose family founded Compagnie Financière Richemont, and who currently serves as its executive chairman, hasn’t laid out his strategy yet, but he has said he anticipates “difficult market conditions” and a “long recovery process.”
Rupert will most likely tighten operations further, and endeavor to build sales of watches and fine jewelry, which were pummeled by the financial crisis last year. He will succeed Norbert Platt, who will step down in March because of health issues. Rupert says one of his reasons for taking the company’s helm is that he doesn’t want an outsider coming into Richemont during this critical time. He says he’ll hold down the job at least until the economy improves.