Swiss-based family business Swatch Group has announced second-generation Nayla Hayek as the new chief executive of its recently acquired jewellery and watch brand Harry Winston.
Hayek is already chair of the luxury brand and her nomination to chief executive takes effect immediately. She has also been chair of Swatch Group since July 2010 following the death of her father Nicolas Hayek.
In March, Swatch forked out $1 billion (€770 million) to acquire US-based Harry Winston. It acquired the brand and all its jewellery and watch activities, its 535 employees and production facilities in Geneva, but it did acquire not the brand’s mining divisions. The acquisition itself was worth $750 million, with a further $250 million spent to service Harry Winston’s debt.
Hayek takes over from former Harry Winston chief executive Frederic de Narp, who had been with the company since January 2010. The Swatch brand was founded in 1983 after Nicolas Hayek was tasked with developing a new business strategy for two Swiss watch companies in the early 1980s. Among his recommendations was the development of the low-cost, high-tech and artistic watch. Within five years the SMH Group had become the most valuable watchmaker in the world.
Today Swatch has more than 29,700 employees in over 50 countries and last year, gross sales amounted to CHF8.1 billion (€6.6 billion). The Hayek family is thought to control roughly 40% of the company and Hayek’s brother Nick Jr is chief executive of the group.