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Richemont shuffles its leadership and grows its jewellery portfolio

The Cartier boutique in Paris’ Place Vendome. Cartier’s CEO Cyrille Vigneron is stepping down and a slew of management changes are following.

Jérôme Lambert steps down as Group CEO, with Nicolas Bos appointed to the re-established CEO position.

Earlier this week, Richemont announced a shuffling of its corporate and brand leadership, sending shockwaves across the luxury industry. Former CEO Jérôme Lambert is now the Chief Operating Officer of the Group. His replacement is none other than Nicolas Bos, the former CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels.

Mr. Nicolas Bos has been appointed to the re-established role of CEO of the Richemont Group.
Nicolas Bos has been appointed to the re-established role of CEO of the Richemont Group.

In addition, the Group is also shifting personnel between brands. Louis Ferla, the CEO of Vacheron Constantin, will replace Cyrille Vigneron as CEO of Cartier later this year. Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Catherine Rénier will return to Van Cleef & Arpels as its CEO. Philippe Hermann, the Chief Financial Officer of Jaeger-LeCoultre, will be its interim CEO, while Ferla’s successor at Vacheron Constantin has not yet been named.

Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, will succeed Nicolas Bos at Van Cleef & Arpels.
Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, will succeed Nicolas Bos at Van Cleef & Arpels.

The elevation of Bos to the chief executive role for the Group is surprising to some. Lambert’s return to the operational side of the business is also unexpected. (He was the Group Operations Officer prior to becoming CEO.) This suggests Richemont intends to focus more on its jewellery division, where its brands have had consistent and stellar growth compared with its watchmaking division. The last financial year’s report revealed that jewellery and other retail sales constitute 69 per cent of the Group’s revenues.

Italian jeweller Vhernier is best known for its sculpture-inspired creations like the Calla design shown here.
Italian jeweller Vhernier is best known for its sculpture-inspired creations, such as the Calla design shown here.

Just prior to these announcements, Richemont acquired another jewellery brand, Vhernier. The boutique Italian jewellery Maison was founded in 1984 in Valenza, with a distinct aesthetic inspired by modern sculpture and the human body. It’s also known for the use of unconventional materials with classic precious metals in its jewellery. Vhernier is present in Europe and the United States; Asia is a big potential market for Richemont to grow the brand.

Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier, will become Chairman of Cartier Culture & Philanthropy.
Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier, will become Chairman of Cartier Culture & Philanthropy.

For the CEO of Cartier, Cyrille Vigneron, this was a planned succession due to his pending retirement after eight years at the brand. While his tenure was relatively short, he succeeded at re-energising Cartier’s watch division and developing new products that combined the Maison’s expertise in watchmaking and jewellery. Today, Cartier’s timepieces, both new and vintage, are among the most sought-after by a younger generation of watch enthusiasts.

Mr. Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin, will take over the role of CEO at Cartier.
Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin, will take over the role of CEO at Cartier.

Vigneron will continue to hold the position of Chairman for Cartier Culture & Philanthropy (i.e. the Cartier Foundation). His successor, Louis Ferla, has a long history with Cartier, having helmed the brand in Greater China from 2006 to 2017.

Group Chief Operating Officer Jérôme Lambert, former Group CEO, aligned the many departments of Richemont, paving the way for its success today.
Group Chief Operating Officer Jérôme Lambert, former Group CEO, aligned the many departments of Richemont, paving the way for its success today.

The Group has also put greater focus on boutique-exclusive retail in the last five years. Monobrand boutiques – either managed by Richemont or with partner retailers – have sprung up for every brand across the globe. This strategy is, in part, based on the success Van Cleef & Arpels experienced by managing its own retail network. All of this could not have been achieved without Jérôme Lambert’s work over the past seven years to synergise the Group’s departments from HR to finance.
 
Of course, everyone is wondering who will be appointed as Vacheron Constantin’s next chief executive. The one last empty musical chair in this chain of appointments awaits.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.