RICHEMONT SHIFTS EXECS AGAIN

Byline: James Fallon

LONDON — Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG keeps reshuffling its management team.
The Swiss-based luxury goods group Friday announced a musical-chairs shifting of its senior executives, only 14 months after it performed a similar exercise. Richemont said the latest changes stem from its $1.86 billion acquisition of the watch company Les Manufactures Horlogeres SA, which was completed in December. The purchase added such brands as IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Sohne to Richemont’s existing stable of Cartier, Piaget, Chloe, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, Baume & Mercier, Lancel and Officine Panerai.
The latest changes involve moving Simon Critchell, head of Richemont North America, to Alfred Dunhill; Dunhill’s chief executive, Guy Leymarie, to Cartier, and putting Richard Lepeu, Cartier’s ceo, in a corporate post.
Richemont executives could not be reached for comment on the changes, but most of them are expected to take effect over the next few months.
“The structure will insure that the various ‘Maisons’ maintain their separate, vertical autonomy and product integrity whilst obtaining maximum synergistic benefits from this important strategic acquisition,” the company said in a statement.
Johann Rupert, currently chairman and chief executive officer of Richemont SA, the group’s management board, will remain its executive chairman as well as ceo of the holding company Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG. Alain Dominique Perrin, currently Richemont’s senior executive director with responsibility for all marketing, manufacturing and strategic operations, will become ceo of the operating company. He and Jan du Plessis, its finance director, will continue to report to Rupert.
Lepeu, ceo of Cartier, will become chief operating officer. His duties will include the coordination and development of functions such as supply chain management, information technology, logistics and after-sales service. Rupert in the past has identified all these areas as potential synergies among Richemont’s various brands. At the same time, he is eager for the individual companies to have their own production and sourcing operations in order to maintain their individual identities.
Leymarie, currently ceo of Alfred Dunhill, will become ceo of Cartier. He will relocate to Paris from London in the next few months. Prior to joining Dunhill in the last round of management changes, Leymarie was Cartier’s managing director of retail and jewelry, worldwide operations.
He will be succeeded at Dunhill by Critchell, ceo of Richemont in North America. Critchell, who will relocate to London from New York, will become a member of Richemont’s management board. Callum Barton, a former head of Dunhill and currently operations director of Richemont based in Geneva, will relocate to New York and become ceo of Richemont North America.
Richemont has grouped all its watch brands into a new specialist watch division and appointed Gonter Blomlein, previously ceo of Les Manufactures Horlogeres, as the division’s ceo. Franco Cologni will become executive chairman of the new watch division and will continue in his current post of executive chairman of Cartier.