Christian Bédat leaves Bedat & Co.

Christian Bédat has resigned as creative director and chief executive officer of Bédat & Co., the Geneva, Switzerland, luxury watch company founded by him and his mother in 1996.

The announcement was made Wednesday by the Gucci Group, N.V., which acquired the watch company in 2000. No reason was given in the statement for Bédat’s departure. A Gucci Group spokesman told JCK it was for “personal reasons.” There had been earlier press reports that Bédat allegedly had some differences with Gucci about its strategy and plans for the brand. The Gucci Group spokesman couldn’t confirm or deny that.

Until a replacement is appointed, Jean-Christophe Bedos, CEO of Boucheron, the Paris-based luxury jewelry and watch company owned by Gucci Group, will lead Bédat & Co. The new Bedat CEO, when appointed, will report directly to Bedos and “be in charge of the brand’s development in-line with the current strategy,” said the Gucci statement.

Robert Polet, Gucci Group president and CEO, complemented Christian Bédat for founding what has become “an internationally acknowledged luxury timepiece brand” and said he was confident that the brand will “realize its full potential in the luxury timepiece market.”

Bédat’s departure is the second notable change in the Gucci Group’s watch operations in recent months. On June 30, it integrated its Gucci Group Watches division for strategic reasons into its Gucci brand division, headed by Mark Lee, its president and chief executive officer. Watch industry veteran Jacques-Philippe Auriol, who had been CEO of the watch division, said he would leave the company when his contract expires this year. In the past couple years, Auriol had overseen the reorganizing and upgrading of Gucci as a luxury watch brand.