So it turns out Richemont needs a CEO after all.
Jérôme Lambert (pictured), who has served as the luxury conglomerate’s chief operating officer since last November, has been appointed the group’s CEO. He has previously headed watchmakers Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Söhne.
When Richemont’s last CEO, Richard Lepeu, retired in 2016, chairman Johann Rupert announced that the company planned to eliminate the job completely.
“One individual cannot be held responsible, it’s unfair,” Rupert, who had previously held the chief executive title, told Bloomberg. “We will never have a similar CEO again.”
The group aimed to have all of its brands report directly to the company’s board.
Obviously that stance has been reversed, but Richemont’s statement still indicates that the company was planning an unconventional take on the CEO role, calling Lambert a “first amongst equals [that] will work in partnership with his fellow senior executives on the board: Cyrille Vigneron, chief executive of Cartier; Nicolas Bos, chief executive of Van Cleef & Arpels; and Burkhart Grund, chief finance[ial] officer.”
Lambert has a long history in the watch business, mostly working for Richemont brands. In 1996, he joined Jaeger-LeCoultre as its financial controller, eventually becoming its chief financial officer. In 2002, he was appointed the brand’s CEO and served in that role until 2013.
He then moved over to become CEO of Montblanc. He served in that role until March 2017, when he became head of operations for all of Richemont’s operations, responsible for central and regional services and all maisons other than jewelry and specialist watchmakers.
In addition, he has served as chairman of A. Lange & Söhne since 2009 and was its CEO for two years.
Said the Richemont statement: “Jérôme’s new role sees him taking responsibility for the Group’s future growth at a time when consumer habits are changing significantly. As we position the Group to meet these challenges, he will lead the development of strategic plans reflecting the long-term objectives and priorities established by the Board.
(Image courtesy of Richemont)