Sunday, April 29, 2018

Breaking the Sapphire Crystal Ceiling - Richemont

Credit must go where credit is due.  If the reports from the South China Morning Post are correct, and now that the researchers here at Tempus Fugit HQ have checked with our "man in Bienne" it would seem that Richemont, on behalf of Jaeger-LeCoultre have done two things that many of us didn't think would ever happen.  They would finally make a decision about a CEO, and more importantly, they made a refreshing decision to appoint a woman to that role.  Word has bubbled out that Catherine Alix-Renier has been tapped to take the wheel at JLC.

Now, in the interest of fair and honest reporting, I have had a very, very hard time liking Jaeger-LeCoultre as a brand for some time.  There, it's out in the open, I've said it.  I have had such an abiding distaste and dislike for their way of doing things that I declined my first-ever invitation to the SIHH, and the "warm & fuzzy ambassadors" at Richemont took note, and no further invitations have been forthcoming...
Well, fair enough ; )

But as that other great commentator on watches, Barry Hearn, has noted:  "Life moves forward, doesn't it?"

So it was with no small amount of amazement, wonder and enthusiasm that I read the news that the brain trust at Richemont HQ had taken the very unusual step to break one of their cardinal rules and not appoint one of their pre-ordained "golden boys" to a senior position that they had been painstakingly groomed for, but rather looked inside the organization for someone who has not only the educational bona fides (insert a quick shout out to Boston College Eagles everywhere) having completed her MBA in my fair city, but the experience.  Someone who rather than loitering around the Richemont HQ, went out and worked in the field.  One of the biggest complaints that I hear from Brand Managers, Brand VPs, distributors and retailers is that the folks at the top have no idea what it's like at their level or in their region.  Well, good news boys and girls, things are about to change.

Ms. Alix-Renier had logged time in North America, Hong Kong and until now been responsible for the Asia Pacific region of Van Cleef & Arpels.  Think about that for a hot minute - the two most important market places that each represent the most daunting and frustrating challenges to brands.  So I suspect at meetings and planning sessions you will no longer hear:  
"Well in Europe..."  as a reason to not consider that different global markets require different approaches.

So I would like to commend the shot callers at Richemont for joining the 21st century, and on behalf of the Executive Publisher and myself wish Catherine Alix-Renier God's speed and all the best of success.

I am now off to a breakfast meeting with the Executive Publisher to discuss a possible pay increase so I can buy a Reverso.  I find that I actually want one again ; )

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