Baselworld Parent Names New Interim CEO

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard has been named the new interim CEO of the MCH Group, the parent company of the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, the preeminent fair in the timepiece industry.

He replaces René Kamm, who resigned last month, a few days after the Swatch Group publicly announced that it would not be exhibiting at next year’s Baselworld trade show. The world’s biggest watchmaker spent a reported $50 million each year at the fair.

Hoejsgaard is a Danish citizen with more than 30 years of experience in the luxury, consumer goods, and retail industries. According to his LinkedIn page, he served as CEO for Georg Jensen from 2003 to 2007, president and CEO of Timex Group from 2008 to 2009, and from 2011 to 2017 he was CEO of cigar company Oettinger Davidoff. He also worked for luxury conglomerate LVMH as regional managing director, Asia-Pacific.

MCH Group chairman Ulrich Vischer had been filling the CEO role following Kamm’s resignation. In a statement, Hoejsgaard made it clear that he also does not expect to fill the CEO role permanently: “I am delighted to be able to support the MCH Group and manage it on an interim basis until a definitive CEO has been found.”

Hoejsgaard comes on board at a time when the publicly traded Swiss company says it’s undergoing a “transformation” to respond to changes and challenges in the trade-fair business.

“We are pleased that we have been able to appoint such an experienced manager as Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard for this short period of time,” said Vischer in a statement. “He will be a valuable addition to our company in these challenging times.”

The change at the top of MCH follows changes at the Baselworld fair itself. Just four months ago, longtime Baselworld managing director Sylvie Ritter stepped down following 26 years at MCH. She was replaced by Michel Loris-Melikoff.

The next Baselworld fair will take place March 21–26, 2019, at the Basel Exhibition Centre (Messe Basel).

(Image courtesy of Baselworld)


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