Luxury Conglomerate Richemont Eliminating CEO Role

Richemont the luxury firm based in Switzerland that is the owner of Montblanc, Cartier and over one dozen other brands that are high-end will eliminate the Chief Executive position in 2017 upon the retirement of its current CEO.

Other senior executives in the watch and jewelry conglomerate have made plans to retire, including its CFO and eight members of the board.

Johann Rupert the founder and chairman of the firm will remain onboard and could consolidate his power in the business.

He denied he would take more work on and cited the elevation of new younger executives. Rupert said that his role would really only be to smooth over the skip of the generation. Now he insisted is the time for the company to look ahead to the next generation.

He praised his CEO that will leave the firm. Richard Lepeu has been with the company for 38 years. Rupert added that he does not know how Lepeu did the work as CEO for so long and cannot expect anyone to fill the role again like Lepeu did for so long.

Richemont has 30,000 employees. It is also the owner of brands such as Ven Cleef & Arpels and Chloe.

The senior executive shakeup was released at the same time the company posted a sales slump of double digits for the six months through the end of September.

Those results came out better than had been expected and investors help the shares increase by up to 10%.

Luxury companies have struggled to keep sales levels. In Europe, tourism has been hit hard following a series of terrorist attacks across the region. The strengthening of Japan’s yen has helped dissuade tourists in that country from making big name high price purchases.

A report recently released by Bain & Company a consulting firm predicts that global spending for luxury goods is going to dip by 1% in 2016 to $276 billion.

However, brands that captured younger generations’ imaginations with new design are leading the way.

Gucci recently posted a big surge in its sales as its customers bought up new designs by Alessandro Michele the creative director.

Richemont announced to its investors that it would push hard to adapt and was confident in the prospects for the long term for its high quality products.

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