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Friday, July 14, 2017

Georges Kern Leaves Richemont To Pursue An Ownership Role With Breitling

Georges Kern Photo by StephZibi - Wikipedia

Georges Kern, a 17-year veteran of Compagnie Financière Richemont, has resigned after nearly rising to the top position in the Swiss luxury goods company. 

“Richemont regrets to announce the resignation with immediate effect of Mr. Georges Kern,” the company said in a brief statement. Kern was head of Watchmaking, Marketing and Digital for Richemont, a newly-created position he held for fewer than four months, after an extremely successful 15-year leadership role with Richemont owned watch brand, IWC Schaffhausen. 

At the same time Jérôme Lambert, who had an equally successful runs as the head of Richemont owned luxury brands Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre, took the newly-created position of head of Operations responsible for central and regional services and all its brands other than jewelry and watchmaking. 

The two executives were basically co-CEOs of Richemont reporting to its board of directors and Johann Rupert, chairman and founder of Richemont. The talk in the industry was that one of them would be tapped to fill the top spot. Both were already responsible for activities within their category for the 16 watch, jewelry and fashion brands the Geneva-based company owns. They include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Baume & Mercier. 

In addition, Richemont holds a 49% equity-accounted interest in the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group, a publicly traded eCommerce company.

“Georges has been offered an interesting opportunity to become an entrepreneur,” Rupert said in the Richemont statement. “He has had a very successful career at IWC Schaffhausen and we wish him well.”

According to reports, the entrepreneurial opportunity is a stake in rival watchmaker Breitling. The company was purchased by private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, headquartered in Luxembourg. 

The Richemont statement notes that Kern has stepped down from Richemont’s senior executive committee and group management committee and will no longer be standing for election to the company’s board of directors at the forthcoming annual general meeting of shareholders.

Richemont’s watchmaking, marketing and digital activities will report to its senior executive committee. 

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