Phillips is New Taramax USA President

Watch industry veteran Dennis Phillips was named to the new post of president of Taramax USA, which distributes Fendi watches, effective July 29. The announcement was made by Thomas M. Venables, chief executive officer of Taramax USA and chairman of its Swiss parent firm, Taramax SA. Venables also is a former president of the company.

The new post was created following Taramax’s recent restructuring, including a new distribution policy, to focus on independent jewelers.

“Dennis is the perfect fit for us,” Venables told JCK. “We have our organization and operations in place. Now, we needed someone like Dennis who can direct this new channel of distribution, someone who has well-established relationships with retail jewelers and can establish a relationship between them and Taramax USA [because] we strongly believe our relationship begins at the door.”

“This is an exceptional opportunity,” said Phillips. “We have all the elements for success. A beautiful assortment of superior Swiss-made timepieces; a world-renowned brand name synonymous with style and luxury; and an effective sales, marketing, and service organization positioned to support the independent jeweler.”

Phillips was formerly president of Ebel USA and has held various positions in the industry, including president of Rado U.S.A.; regional sales manager at Omega U.S.A.; and director of department store sales for Citizen Watch of America.

He will now oversee expansion of Fendi’s distribution network of fine jewelers, now at about 300 stores, to more than 700 in the next five years. His immediate priority, he said, is reorganizing and building a sales team to serve those stores. Four regional managers began work on Aug. 5; district managers and account representatives will be added later. Eventually, the staff will have 12 to 15 people, says Venables.

Taramax is the exclusive manufacturer and worldwide distributor of Fendi timepieces. Its manufacturing facilities are located in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and its U.S. offices and distribution center in Spring Lake, N.J.

Luxury brand Fendi was established in 1925, and is well known internationally for its furs, handbags, ready-to-wear, leather accessories, fragrances, and timepieces. About 70% of the company is now owned by LVMH, the French luxury goods conglomerate. LVMH recently targeted Fendi as the brand within the LVHM group with the greatest potential for significant growth.