September 21, 2017 / 8:53 AM / a year ago

Richemont hires former LVMH HR head to bolster management team

ZURICH (Reuters) - Luxury goods group Richemont moved to shore up its management team on Thursday by appointing two outsiders to its senior executive committee.

The maker of Cartier jewelry and IWC watches said it had hired Sophie Guieysse, who worked for luxury rival LVMH until 2005 and then joined Canal+ Group, as group human resources director and Jean-Jacques van Oosten from Rewe Digital for the new role of chief technology officer.

Falling sales and profits at its watch business prompted Richemont to replace almost all its brand heads and appoint a senior executive committee to take over from former Chief Executive Richard Lepeu, who retired in March.

But Georges Kern, who had been touted as a future CEO, quit in July after just four months as head of the watch business to join rival Breitling.

Richemont’s replacement of Thomas Lindemann, a 20-year Richemont veteran, with Guieysse was seen by watch expert Gregory Pons as a recognition of the problems the Swiss firm is having developing and retaining talented managers.

Richemont did not give details on van Oosten’s responsibilities as chief technology officer, but sources close to the matter said he was taking on digital tasks from Kern who was head of watchmaking, marketing and digital.

(This version of the story corrects headline and second paragraph to make it clear Guieysse left LVMH in 2005)

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Alexander Smith

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