Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Homophobia, Sexism and the Watch Business

Yes, you read the title right.

Breitling's US boss has been accused of homophobia by a former sales executive.  That is bad enough, but this is now public as the sales executive in question - Frederick Cargian has sued and the documents have been filed in Manhattan Federal Court.  The focus of the complaint is Thierry Prissert who oversees Breitling on this side of the Atlantic, and the discriminatory behavior that is alleged to have begun when he took over the US operations in 2010.

To boil the complaint down to some basics - and to be clear I am basing this on what is available through shockingly few media outlets, according to Mr. Cargian's complaint there were a fair number of alleged incidents, but chief among Mr. Cargian's overall concerns are:

1.  Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that he had been a very successful sales representative.  
2. Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that he had been responsible for a specific territory that was then reduced with an inexperienced new rep being offered a large part of it.
3.  That Breitling's US boss - according to Mr. Cargian's complaint - encouraged a "boy's club" atmosphere.
4.  Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that women and (by default owing to his sexual orientation) Mr. Cargian were often excluded from Breitling company activities - most glaringly a "team building" trip to Crewe, England held by auto partner Bentley.
5.  Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that at BaselWorld male sales team members were billeted together, Mr. Cargian was assigned to share a room with a married female sales team member.

There is more, but let's just say those are some key points and again - this is information gathered from the reporting of Britain's Independent.

Although he appeared to be doing a good job for Breitling and had been with the company for quite some time, he was let go in December 2013 after a "brief" tenure of 23 years...

Okay, those are the basics and you can check out a few articles relating to this here:



So let's see what comes out of this, but I will say that the watch world IS A BOY'S CLUB.  The level of testosterone that wafts around the BaselWorld venues and most particularly after hours parties and drinking sessions is palpable.  Moreover, it doesn't have to be that way.

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