Maurice Lacroix USA Downsizes, Cuts Management Jobs

There has been significant changes in the top management and operations of upscale watch company Maurice Lacroix USA because of today’s “difficult” market, say the brand’s officials.

President Randi Shinske (pictured), director of marketing Fran Pennella, and some others at the brand’s U.S. office at Hackensack, N.J., were let go on Oct. 28, JCK has learned.

The changes are part of a necessary downsizing of the U.S. operations, says a letter being sent to Maurice Lacroix retailers and business partners in North America from Martin Bachmann, chief executive officer of Maurice Lacroix International, and Marc Gläser, sales director international, Maurice Lacroix International.

The brand remains “committed to continue developing the U.S. market,” they write. “However, the current difficult market conditions have forced the Board of Directors to request a consolidation of the local operation on a smaller scale.”

The letter and Maurice Lacroix officials didn’t say when new officials or “the new operation” will be announced. That will come “in due time” they said. In the meantime, retailers are being referred to regional sales directors and Alicia Leon, director of finance and operations.

Bachmann and Gläser say the new, restructured operation “will serve an even more focused and selective distribution in line with the brand’s mechanical [watch] positioning.”

The changes follow a major effort in the past couple years to raise the brand’s profile in the United States and to take it higher in the luxury sphere. Since 2006, the North American operation added a new president/chief executive officer—U.S. luxury watch veteran Randi Shinske—and a marketing director (Panella), streamlined products, reduced its retail outlets, and launched a new ad campaign (part of a global marketing endeavor) to redefine itself in the U.S. market.

In their letter, Bachmann and Glaser say Shinske and Maurice Lacroix US, Inc., were “in full agreement … to end their business relationship.” As president, they write, Shinske has “contributed significantly to the repositioning of the brand [and] thank Randi for her efforts and achievements.”