VENDôME NAMES NEW CARTIER CEO
Alain Viot has been named president and CEO of Cartier Inc. and will head up Cartier operations in the United States. He reports to Simon J. Critchell, president and CEO of Vendôme North America Inc., the holding structure for Cartier, VLG brands, and L.E.A.D. Ameriques. Critchell has become chairman of the board of Cartier.
Viot had been with Cartier in Europe for 13 years. For the past five years, he had been president and CEO of Cartier Spain, with responsibility for Cartier and Vendôme brand operations. In addition, he was responsible for opening subsidiary operations in Portugal and established Cartier in that market in 1998.
Viot served as product manager at Cartier France from 1987 through 1990. In 1990, he became assistant to the general manager and then director of marketing at Cartier International, where he was responsible for major product development, most notably the launch of the Tank Française watch.
Nancy Klein, formerly president of Antica Design Inc., is now director of merchandising for Golan International of Yardley, Pa. Klein, based in New York, will work with retailers and wholesalers on new product development and new business concepts and will market and merchandise the existing Golan product line. She will also seek out designers to create new items and collections to incorporate into Golan International product lines.
Sharon Gefen is the new international media consultant to the Israel Diamond Institute, the nonprofit body that represents the diamond industry in Israel. She will handle all media relations for trade and general-interest publications for the Israeli diamond industry outside the country. Before opening her own firm, Gefen formed and headed the Marketing and Communications Group of the Jewish Agency for Israel and directed international advertising and public relations for Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank.
Christie’s International has made two appointments. Edward Dolman has been named CEO of Christie’s International and head of Christie’s worldwide group of companies. He joined the company in 1984 and has served as managing director of Christie’s Americas, Christie’s Europe, and Christie’s Amsterdam. François Curiel has been named deputy chairman of Christie’s International. Curiel will remain director of Christie’s International Jewelry Department.
Eric Grossbardt is now the sole owner of Asch/Grossbardt Inc., New York. Company cofounder Larry Asch has retired after more than 50 years in the jewelry industry. Grossbardt began his career in fine jewelry with Honora, a company founded by his father, Jerome Grossbardt.
Harry Lenga, 80, a longtime jeweler in St. Louis and survivor of Nazi labor camps, died in Israel on Jan. 2. He and his wife, Dorothy, owned the former Friendly Jewelers. He was a watchmaker and jeweler for nearly 40 years before he retired. The couple moved to Israel in 1998. He and his brothers, Morris Lenga and the late Marcel Lenga, spent four years in concentration camps in Poland and Austria during World War II. His family, originally from Poland, emigrated to St. Louis in 1949. He volunteered at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center for many years.
Jacques Merchant, 71, founder of Jacques Jewelers of Danville and Martinsville, Va., died Jan. 10. He got involved in the jewelry business in the 1950s after a stint as a car salesman. He sold a car to a district manager for the Royal Jewel Box company who recognized his selling skills and offered him a job. He worked for Royal Jewel Box for several years before opening his own store.
Lauree Bland, 84, a retired sales representative for Albritton’s Jewelers, died of heart failure Dec. 15 in Ridgeland, Miss. She had worked for Albritton’s Jewelers more than 50 years.
Joel Denny Ross of Mobile, Ala., died Jan. 27. He was the owner and operator of Ross Jewelers for 20 years.
Gladys Skipper Goff, 94, of Holly Springs, Tenn., a retired jeweler for Orman’s Jewelry Store, died of heart failure Feb. 9.
Lewis Norris, 63, of Chelsea, Ala., owner of Norris Jewelry Store in Birmingham, Ala., died Jan. 30.
ROBERT SCHWAGER, COMPANY OWNER
Robert Schwager, owner of New York-based International Cultured Pearl Co. Inc., died Feb. 22 after a long illness. He was 82 years old.
Born in Vienna, he owned a retail store in New York from 1945 to 1960. He became a cultured pearl importer in 1961. He joined International Cultured Pearl Co. in 1967 and eventually became its owner.
A friend and mentor to many, he was a founding father of the Independent Jewelers Organization and the Cultured Pearl Association of America. – Robert Schwager