Robert Siragusa in late August unexpectedly left his post as president of Maurice Lacroix USA, the U.S. subsidiary of the upscale Swiss watch brand. Siragusa established the brand in the United States in 1994 and built a network of more than 400 jewelers that carry it.
An Aug. 22 letter sent to the brand’s U.S. retailers says, “Effective Aug. 22, 2003, Mr. Robert Siragusa will no longer serve as president of Maurice Lacroix USA Inc.” The letter was sent under the name of Philippe C. Merk, chief executive officer of the Maurice Lacroix Group in Zurich, Switzerland.
The change wasn’t completely unexpected. There had been rumors at the Jewelers of America Show in New York City (July 27-30) that Maurice Lacroix was seeking a replacement for Siragusa.
Merk’s letter gave no reasons for the change. However, a settlement agreement reached later in the month between Siragusa and the watch company says, “Maurice Lacroix and Siragusa mutually agree to terminate Siragusa’s employment. …” When contacted by JCK on Aug. 28, Siragusa declined to comment on the change.
Prior to his tenure with Maurice Lacroix, Siragusa founded and was a partner in an award-winning jewelry manufacturer called Aurion International; served as U.S. sales manager for the luxury Swiss watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre; and, in the late 1970s, helped relaunch Pulsar watches in the U.S. market.
A search was under way at press time for a new president for Maurice Lacroix USA, with an announcement expected as early as September. Until then, Daniel Wechsler, vice president of Maurice Lacroix USA, was temporarily in charge.
Siragusa’s departure wasn’t part of a change in distribution or marketing strategy. In his Aug. 22 letter, Merk assured the brand’s U.S. retailers that “the Maurice Lacroix group is committed to the American market and the support of our U.S. subsidiary.”