World

Potential Richemont CEO 
leaves for rival Breitling

ZURICH Mr Georges Kern, tipped as a potential chief executive officer of Richemont, left the luxury goods group abruptly last Friday, just four months after taking over as head of its watchmaking division.

The departure of Mr Kern, who had been at Richemont for 17 years, is a blow after the maker of Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, Montblanc and other top brands recently moved to a new management structure that split the top role between a handful of heirs apparent to the post.

Swiss newspaper Le Temps reported that Mr Kern had taken a stake in rival Swiss watchmaker Breitling and planned to try to revive the brand. Mr Kern, who steered watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen for 15 years, was previously seen going head-to-head for the CEO job with former Montblanc executive Jerome Lambert.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said: "Kern was touted as a potential future CEO of the group but the company has recently moved to a committee structure after Richard Lepeu retired as CEO.

"He may have just thought the structure wasn't for him."

In a reshuffle announced last November, Mr Lambert assumed responsibility for all businesses outside jewellery and watchmaking, while Mr Kern was appointed head of watchmaking, marketing and digital.

Richemont's other brands include Jaeger-LeCoultre, Van Cleef & Arpels and Piaget. - REUTERS

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