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Breaking News: Richemont Promotes Lambert to CEO

by Frank Chuo on September 10, 2018

Breaking News: Richemont Promotes Lambert to CEO

Swiss luxury-goods maker Richemont promoted Jerome Lambert to chief executive officer, picking a veteran who built his career in watchmaking to lead the company. The move is a U-turn for the Geneva-based luxury-goods maker, which abolished the CEO position two years ago because Chairman Johann Rupert considered the luxury goods maker too big for one person to manage. The South African billionaire said in a statement Monday that Lambert will be “first among equals,” guiding Richemont’s strategy while working with the CEOs of its jewelry brands Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. In his two decades at Richemont, Lambert has gained the confidence of controlling shareholder Rupert, who has reversed his decision that brand chiefs should report to the board. Rupert said in November 2016 that it would be “unfair” to make one person responsible for about three dozen units that make up the sprawling company. “We very much welcome the CEO announcement,” said Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich. “Leadership is now clear.”

 

Separately, Richemont reported that revenue increased 10 percent excluding acquisitions and currency shifts in the five months through August. Analysts expected an 8 percent gain. Richemont’s management has been in flux in recent years. Georges Kern, who had been seen as another possible CEO candidate, left the company last year to lead watchmaker Breitling. Lambert has worked at Richemont for more than two decades, having started at watch division Jaeger-LeCoultre in finance in 1996. He became CEO of that brand in 2002 and also has headed Montblanc and A. Lange & Soehne.

 

Source: Corinne Gretler (Bloomberg)

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