22 NOV 1999
The Board of Compagnie Financière Richemont AG, the holding company of the Swiss luxury goods group, today announced that it has decided to merge the management and executive board structures of Richemont and its wholly owned subsidiary, Vendôme Luxury Group. This decision reflects the group's long term commitment to the further development of its luxury goods businesses and is consistent with the merger of Rothmans International with British American Tobacco, as well as the disposal of Richemont's 15% shareholding in Canal+, earlier this year.
A number of senior group executives, who previously served on the Board of Vendôme Luxury Group, will be joining the Board of Richemont SA - the Luxembourg subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Richemont AG - which in future will serve as Management Board to the group.
Mr Alain Dominique Perrin becomes Senior Executive Director of the Richemont group, with responsibility for the development and implementation of the group's marketing, manufacturing and commercial strategy. As such, all brand managers within the group will either directly or indirectly report to Mr Perrin. Mr Perrin will be reporting to Mr Johann Rupert, Chief Executive of Richemont.
Mr Franco Cologni becomes Executive Director with responsibility for the strategic development of the group's watch businesses, in particular its specialist watch brands Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Vacheron Constantin and Panerai, as well as Chairman of the group's Product Committee.
The existing office of Vendôme Luxury Group in Geneva will, in future, be responsible for the provision and coordination of certain central services to all operating companies in the Richemont group - in particular in areas such as financial management, information technology, treasury management and related logistical services. Mr Callum Barton, currently Managing Director of Alfred Dunhill, will relocate from London to Geneva as Operations Director to head up this function and will be reporting to Mr Jan du Plessis, Finance Director of Richemont.
Mr Guy Leymarie, who currently holds a senior executive position with Cartier in Paris, will move to London to succeed Mr Barton as Managing Director of Alfred Dunhill. Mr Barton, however, will retain his involvement with the brand by assuming the Chairmanship of Alfred Dunhill in a non-executive capacity, whilst Mr Richard Dunhill, currently Chairman, has been appointed Life President of Alfred Dunhill.
Mr Michael Bennett, currently Finance Director of Vendôme Luxury Group, who had previously indicated his intention to retire, has agreed to stay on for a further period of at least twelve months to assist Mr Barton in his new role and, in particular, to advise the group on the establishment of a central treasury function. The Board of Richemont today expressed its thanks and appreciation to Mr Bennett for his valuable contribution to the Group over almost thirty years.
Messrs. Perrin, Cologni, Barton and Leymarie, as well as Mr Richard Lepeu (Managing Director of Cartier), Mr Norbert Platt (Managing Director of Montblanc), Mr Albert Kaufmann (General Counsel) and Mr John P Rupert (Manufacturing Director), will all be appointed to the Board of Richemont SA - the group's Management Board.
The above appointments, as well as certain consequential organisational changes, will be effective by the end of January 2000 and will coincide with the previously announced retirement of Mr Joseph Kanoui, Chairman and Chief Executive of Vendôme.
Mr Alan Quasha and Lord Douro, currently non-executive directors of Richemont SA and Vendôme Luxury Group SA, respectively, have been invited to join the Board of Compagnie Financière Richemont AG as non-executive directors.
Richemont also today announced good results in respect of the six-month period ended 30 September 1999. Sales by the group's luxury goods businesses increased by 20% to € 1 263.4 million, whilst operating profit grew by 36% to € 205.9 million.