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Monday, February 20, 2017

Montblanc CEO Jérôme Lambert Bids Farewell

Montblanc CEO Jérôme Lambert (letf) with brand ambassadors Guey Lun Mei, Charlotte Casiraghi and Hugh Jackman at the Montblanc gala dinner in Geneva

The rows of tables that make up the seating arrangement at the Brasserie Des Halles de L’Ile for Montblanc’s annual gala dinner is just one of the signature trademarks of Jérôme Lambert that displays his attention to detail. 

In less than four years the engaging French CEO of the German luxury brand has managed to make his mark in many ways. Among them:

* He created consistent storylines based on Montblanc’s heritage over multiple product categories and produced innovative products that adhered to brand’s legacy. For example, a year ago, Montblanc celebrated its 110th anniversary with a wide collection of writing instruments, timepieces, leather goods, cufflinks and jewelry called “Montblanc Heritage Collection, Rouge & Noir” that took design inspiration from various periods of the brand’s history. 

* He championed the first design partnership in Montblanc’s history, working with contemporary designer, Marc Newson, for the Montblanc M collection of writing instruments.

* He named contemporary art curators, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, as co-chairs of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Awards, also a first for the brand and the 25-year history of the awards program.

* He was instrumental in merging the talents of its two watchmaking operations: Villeret (formerly known as Minerva), a watchmaking workshop in the town of the same name that produces a limited number of timepieces with hand-made chronograph movements; and the Montblanc Le Locle watch manufacturing operation. The two facilities produced separate products until Lambert arrived. In less than a year Montblanc began producing familiar and new Montblanc chronographs with Villeret movements at a broader range of prices and styles. 

Now it was time for Lambert to say goodbye. His success at Montblanc and an equally successful stint at luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre has earned him a corporate position at Compagnie Financière Richemont, which owns both brands. He moves into a new title April 1 as head of Operations responsible for central and regional services for all brands with the exception of jewelry and watchmaking. He is being replaced by Nicolas Baretzki, currently Montblanc’s executive VP of sales.

The seating arrangement of rows of tables at the Montblanc annual gala dinner. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

The January 16 dinner during the Salon International Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch trade show was the last chance Lambert had to publicly address his top-line staff, many of whom he hired, and the international celebrities associated with the brand, many of whom he recruited. His energetic ad-libbed remarks were often interrupted by cheers and applause—overshadowing the celebrities at the event, including Hugh Jackman, Montblanc’s international brand ambassador. 

“Every time it’s a little bit of an adventure so it looks good on Monday morning,” he said about preparing the luxurious exhibition space at SIHH, the luxury watch trade show. “There’s a lot of people involved and a lot of stories.”

Jérôme Lambert addresses his guests at the Montblanc gala dinner. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

He added, “For many of you who started on the very first days, weeks and months of our history. I remember the tough nights. Thanks for the good energy, investment and strong belief that everything was functioning perfectly.… Thank you for the amazing time. Thank you for being our partners, brand ambassadors, friends and sources of inspiration.” 

Those sitting on the rows of tables cheered. 

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