Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — Swiss watch brand Ebel, owned by LVMH, on Tuesday named Randi Shinske president and chief executive officer of Ebel USA, replacing Dennis Phillips.
This followed last week’s appointment of Daniel Lalonde as president for the U.S. of Tag Heuer, another watch brand owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. While Ebel is a part of the LVMH watch and jewelry division internationally, Ebel operates independently in this country.
Guillaume Brochard, president and ceo of Ebel SA, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in a phone interview said the two executive changes were a “coincidence” and were not part of a larger LVMH strategy to revamp its brands in the U.S. The company said Phillips left to pursue personal endeavors.
“We have a lot of ambitious plans for the U.S.,” Brochard said. “We wanted to make this management change because we feel Randi has the background and experience to run this brand.”
Nonetheless, when LVMH reported its financial results for 2001, the watch and jewelry category was a notable disappointment. The unit saw its operating income fall 54 percent to $24 million, as sales dropped 12 percent to $480 million. LVMH’s total sales for 2001 rose 5 percent to $10.9 billion.
Ebel, known for its high-end steel watches for women, was purchased by LVMH in 1999 and has estimated sales of about $120 million. The U.S. unit is the brand’s largest subsidiary, accounting for 30 percent of sales, the company said. The brand is now sold in about 400 doors here.
Shinske has held executive positions at Swatch, Montblanc and Damiani, and had joined Ebel as vice president of sales in January. Phillips had been running Ebel here since 1998.

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