Breitling USA, the luxury Swiss watch brand, best-known for its pilot’s watches, has had a change at the top.
Long time president Marie Bodman, one of the most successful watches executives in a male-dominated industry, is returning to Breitling’s world headquarters in Grenchen, Switzerland, says the company, “to support sales growth globally.” Replacing her is Philippe Bonay, a watch industry veteran who spent the last five and a half years as president of the Panerai USA, overseeing that watch brand’s U.S. growth. Prior to that, he spent four years at Richemont in a senior marketing role for Piaget and Baume Mercier in Hong Kong and then for Piaget and Panerai in the United States. The specific time for the transition hasn’t been set yet, said a Breitling spokesperson, though Bonay is already at the U.S. offices.
“Philippe’s expertise in marketing and strategic planning will help him direct and strengthen Breitling’s brand focus in the U.S. for years to come,” states Bodman, “and I look forward to working with Philippe and know that Breitling will prosper under his direction.”
Bodman has been president of Breitling USA, headquartered at Wilton, Conn., for 19 years, and successfully led its development into one of the top Swiss watch brands in the United States. She introduced Breitling, founded in 1884, to the U.S. market in 1989 and not only broadened its distribution, but also awareness of Breitling chronographs in what was then an under-developed market. The brand has had consistent sales growth during the past two decades, growing 30 percent in recent years.