It’s the end of an era. After 26 years in the family business, Nadja Swarovski (pictured), the public face of Swarovski International Holding, the Austrian crystal giant, announced yesterday that she would step down from the company on Dec. 31.
A member of the 126-year-old company’s executive board, Ms. Swarovski was its first female member when she joined the company in 1995. She will remain involved with the Swarovski Foundation, which she established in 2013, as chair emeritus, according to a joint statement from Ms. Swarovski and the company.
“I am deeply grateful for the experience of working in my family’s business and in particular very closely with my father, Helmut Swarovski, who taught me so much,” Ms. Swarovski said in a statement. “My time at the Swarovski company has been the most rewarding journey—what started with creativity and design has culminated in human empowerment and sustainability, and using Swarovski’s platform to support the environment and the community has been the greatest privilege of my career.”
Ms. Swarovski’s departure caps nearly nearly two years of management reorganization at the company, which has seen a slew of layoffs and high-profile departures, including the resignation of her cousin and fellow board member, Robert Buchbauer, from his position as CEO.
Founded by Daniel Swarovski in 1895, the Wattens, Austria–based company has historically been run by his descendants. Complaints of a disorganized corporate structure marked by a number of “siloed” business units precipitated the corporate reshuffle.
Under Ms. Swarovski’s leadership, the company partnered with emerging designers and promising young creators in the worlds of jewelry, fashion, design, architecture, stage, and screen, from Alexander McQueen to Zaha Hadid.
In 2007, she established the Atelier Swarovski brand, a jewelry, accessories, and home decor line that earned plenty of press for its splashy fashion collaborations with luxury leaders including Christopher Kane, Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Karl Lagerfeld.
“It is with deep gratitude that we acknowledge Nadja’s indelible imprint on the business,” Luisa D. Delgado, chair of Swarovski’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Her contribution over the years has been decisive in bringing Swarovski to the forefront of the fashion industry. This will remain her legacy to Swarovski.”
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