Devine is new CEO of Bedat & Co.

William Devine, 40, has been appointed by the Gucci Group, N.V. as the new chief executive officer of its Swiss luxury watch company Bedat and Co. He replaces Christian Bédat, who with his mother, in 1996 started the company, bought by Gucci in 2000. Bédat resigned as creative director and chief executive officer of Bedat & Co., in October 2006. No reason was given then, though some earlier press reports suggested he allegedly had some differences with Gucci over plans for the brand.

As CEO of Bedat & Co., Devine, a watch industry veteran “with extensive experience [in] developing and implementing successful strategies” for luxury watches and jewelry, will oversee further development of the Bedat brand “in line with current strategy,” said the Gucci announcement in December.

He will report directly to Jean-Christophe Bedos, CEO of Boucheron, the Paris-based luxury jewelry and watch company owned by Gucci Group. Bedos has overseen Bedat & Co. since October.

Devine’s “wide experience in managing and developing luxury timepiece businesses will prove invaluable,” said Gucci Group President and CEO Robert Polet. He said he was confident Devine, “under continued guidance of Jean-Christophe Bedos, together with the high-caliber team already in place, will realize the full potential of Bedat and Co.”

Devine has more than 12 years experience in the Swiss watch and jewelry industry, including senior positions at Montres Universal SA, Robergé Watches SA, de Grisogono SA, and Perficio SA, an investment firm focusing on the watch and jewelry industry. In 2002, he was briefly show director of the international BaselWorld watch and jewelry trade fair.

Gucci Group is one of the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerates. Its portfolio includes the brands Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bedat & Co., Boucheron, Roger & Gallet, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney and YSL Beauté. The Group designs, produces and distributes personal luxury goods; operates stores in major markets throughout the globe; and wholesales products through franchise stores, duty-free boutiques and leading department and specialty stores. Gucci Group is owned by PPR, a global retail and luxury goods firm.