Merk will succeed Meylan as Audemars Piguet CEO

Philippe C. Merk, 51, has been named the new chief executive officer of Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet Holding SA, effective Jan. 1, 2009. Merk is currently CEO of the Swiss watch brand Maurice Lacroix SA (the Desco Luxury Group), a post he has held since 2001, overseeing that brand’s  renewed growth in the luxury market.

The appointment was announced this summer by Jasmine Audemars, chairperson of the Audemars Piguet board of directors.

No announcement has been made, yet, as to who will succeed Merk at Maurice Lacroix, where he is expected to remain until year’s end.

While at Maurice Lacroix, Merk raised the luxury position of the brand, developing it as a true watch manufacturer, including the creation and production of its own mechanical movements and complications. Its most recent debut, this year, is “Memoire 1” watch, the first mechanical watch with a memory function.

Prior to Maurice Lacroix, Merk, who has a degree in chemical physics from the Engineering School of Zurich, Switzerland, held senior posts in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Georges-Henri Meylan, the long-time CEO of Audemars Piguet, will continue in that post until Dec. 31, and assist Merk in the transition. Meylan, who has oversee Audemars Piguet’s growth in the luxury market over the past two decades, will remain a member of the Audemars Piguet board.