Montblanc North America gets new president and CEO

Jan-Patrick Schmitz has been named president and chief executive officer of Montblanc North America, effective Aug. 1. The brand, best known for its pens and watches, is owned by Swiss luxury goods group Richemont. Karsten Martens, who held the post for four years, will take over Montblanc’s global Travel Retail business beginning in October.

Schmitz, who joined Montblanc in 1994, has been director of its International Executive Committee and head of global supply chain management at Montblanc’s international headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. He previously was president and CEO of Montblanc Japan.

Norbert Platt, Montblanc’s chairman and CEO, noted that Schmitz’s expertise in operations and logistics makes him “ideally suited to accelerate the company’s growth in the United States.” In addition, “his familiarity with Montblanc’s products, senior management and staff, and its unique corporate culture, will ensure a smooth transition. I’m certain his leadership will help the company achieve the next level of excellence.”

Established in 1906 by a stationery trader, a banker, and an engineer, Montblanc—long known for its fine writing instruments—has evolved into a diversified luxury brand that also offers watches, leather goods, accessories, eyewear, and fragrances. Its North American operations include 49 freestanding boutiques, 60 shop-in-shops, and 67 corners in selected fine-jewelry and department stores. Montblanc plans to open its largest store in the world in November in New York City at 57th St. and Madison Ave., which a company spokesman called “the crossroads of international luxury.”

Montblanc is one of several premium brands owned by Richemont. Other leading luxury brands in its portfolio include Cartier, Montblanc, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloé, Alfred Dunhill, and Lancel, plus the prestigious Swiss watch manufacturers Vacheron Constantin, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Officine Panerai, and Baume & Mercier.