After the appointment of Jean-Frédéric Dufour as new CEO of Rolex and of Jean-Claude Biver as CEO of all watch brands of the LVMH Group (see here), it’s now the turn of Kering (former PPR) – including Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard and Boucheron – to name a new CEO. That new CEO is Albert Bensoussan, formerly Sales Director for Louis Vuitton Watches.
What happened in the watches industry? For a month now, it’s a real musical chairs game. Rolex, LVMH and Kering (formerly known as PPR), 3 of the major groups, appoint new CEOs, new teams and new strategies. Are they anticipating changes in consumer behaviour, or a decrease of the market? We don’t know if all these changes are a good sign or if they predict a period of rough weather. Whatever is going on, the industry is getting a new face. It looks like the immense growth of the market these last few years/decades is over – or at least slowing down.
We’ve seen that trend in both the SIHH and Baselworld this year. The presented novelties are interesting, but also following known design codes in order not to shock the potential buyers. And moreover, many brands introduced a new budget collection, or were eager to mention that prices of new models would not rise this year. Zenith even introduced a new collection that, for the first time in a very long time, features a non-Zenith movement simply for budgetary reasons.
Albert Bensoussan, Kering’s new CEO for Jewellery and Watches, is not a new face in the industry of luxury goods. Bensoussan (55) had a successful past in Richemont Group, as International Director of Cartier. After that, he followed a career inside the LVMH Group, first as CEO of Givenchy and then Marketing and Sales Director of Louis Vuitton Watches. Starting from scratch, he gave LV a real legitimacy in the world of watches, with a clear strategy and successful products.
He will now be in charge of the newly created ‘Watches and Jewellery Division’ that includes Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard, as well as Sowind, the internal movement manufacture. With an estimated turnover of EUR 360 millions, Kering is still a small actor compared to Rolex, Richemont or LVMH. However, François-Henri Pinault (major shareholder of Kering) is known for his investing policy and there are some rumours on possible acquisitions. Stay Tuned.
Original news by Gregory Pons on his website Business Montres.
PS. and let’s not forget that the musical chairs game is still in full play at the Richemont Group, where the Group’s CEO is on “sabbatical leave” for an entire year and will appoint a new CEO upon return in September (see here).