Van der Kallen is New Richemont NA Watch Chief

Thomas Van der Kallen has been named president of the newly organized watch division of Richemont North America.

Van der Kallen, who has been president of Baume & Mercier North America since July 1999, played a key role in repositioning the brand in the market and driving its sales. He joined the Richemont group in 1991, doing marketing for the Baume & Mercier and Piaget brands, and came to the United States in 1998 as Baume & Mercier’s vice president of marketing and sales.

Replacing him as Baume & Mercier president is Edward Wright, who until now was Baume & Mercier West Coast sales director, covering the western region of the United States and all of Canada. Rudy Chavez, formerly Baume & Mercier East Coast sales director, has been promoted to vice president of sales in the U.S. and Canada.

Van der Kallen’s appointment is part of a restructuring that brings together several of the prestigious watch brands Richemont sells in North America, including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Söhne, and Officine Panerai. Other Richemont watch brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, and Dunhill aren’t included in the nascent U.S. watch division.

The changes in the U.S. watch operation are part of Richemont’s reorganization of its global watch business, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, to which Van der Kallen reports.

Last year, Richemont appointed veteran Swiss watch industry leader Günther Blümlein to head its new watch division in Geneva. Following Blümlein’s unexpected death in October, the position was filled by Henry-John Belmont, chief executive of Jaeger-LeCoultre and a long time colleague of Blümlein at Les Manufactures Horlogères (LMH) prior to its acquisition by Richemont in 2000.