Richemont Group expands overhaul by appointing new CEOs at four of its brands

Richemont plans to expand its management overhaul by naming new CEOs of four luxury brands including Alfred Dunhill, according to people familiar with the matter.

Andrew Maag, head of Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at UK fashion house Burberry, would join as CEO of Dunhill, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information was not public. Also being replaced were the heads of three watch brands. Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Daniel Riedo would leave at the end of February for other opportunities, while the chiefs of Piaget and Vacheron Constantin would retire.

The changes were in the works in November when the Swiss luxury-goods maker eliminated the company-wide CEO position, one of the people said. Watchmakers are emerging from their worst year for exports since 2009. Richemont chairman Johann Rupert has said the company needs to name younger managers who are in tune with what luxury consumers want.

The changes would “reflect a more nimble and streamlined executive model”, MainFirst Bank analyst John Guy wrote in a note to clients.

Vacheron Constantin CEO Juan-Carlos Torres and Piaget CEO Philippe Leopold-Metzger would remain nonexecutive presidents, one of the people said. Georges Kern, CEO of watchmaker IWC, would take on the Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO position on an interim basis as he became head of all watchmaking at Richemont, that person said.

Last year, Cyrille Vigneron took over management of Richemont’s Cartier brand, which has cut jobs, repurchased unsold watches and refocused on less expensive models.

The changes show Richemont is reacting to the downturn, said Berenberg analyst Zuzanna Pusz. She added that the “departure of another four executives responsible for an estimated 15% of total business could cause some short-term concerns” by disrupting the brands.

Richemont makes watches under 12 brands including Ralph Lauren and Baume & Mercier. The company said on January 12 that sales of timepieces in its own stores returned to growth in the three months to end-December.

Maag joined Burberry in 2006 as senior vice-president of men’s wear, and before that held executive roles at Limited Brands, Donna Karan and Gap’s Banana Republic.

Separately, Chloe creative director Clare Waight Keller said she in a statement that she was leaving the Richemont fashion brand after six years.

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