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Richemont family chief to step down – names two non-family successors

Johann Rupert, the second-generation head of Swiss luxury group Richemont, is to step down as chief executive next year and will be succeeded by two non-family members.
Richemont's chief Johan Rupert steps down

Johann Rupert, the second-generation head of Swiss luxury group Richemont, is to step down as chief executive next year and will be succeeded by two non-family members.

The family business, famous for owning brands such as Cartier and Montblanc, said in a statement today that Bernard Fornas and Richard Lepeu will replace Rupert from 1 April 2013.

Rupert, 62, who transformed the company founded by his father into a luxury giant, will remain chairman of Richemont.

Fornas, who currently heads up Cartier, will be responsible for overseeing Richemont’s operating companies – such as watch-maker Jaeger-LeCoultre and fashion house Chloe. Meanwhile Lepeu, currently deputy CEO, will run the group’s central operations.

The announcement comes on the back of Richemont reporting slower growth in Asia-Pacific.

Although revenues for the six months ending 30 September increased by 12% year-on-year to reach €5.1 billion, growth was slower in the month of October, the company said.

While sales increased by 19% in crisis-hit Europe, the rise in Asia-Pacific and the Americas was lower at 9% and 4% respectively.

But overall net income saw a big jump of 52% to €1.1 billion. The Geneva-based company credited the growth to both favourable currency movements and strong operational performance.

Rupert, who became chief executive in 2010 when the previous head retired for health reasons, described the results as “solid”.

Richemont traces its roots to 1988 when Rupert spun out the assets of South Africa-based Rembrandt Group, founded by his father Anton Rupert in the 1940s.

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