Friday, January 15, 2021

The Transfer Window Opens - And the Sapphire Crystal Ceiling is Broken Again

At Audemars Piguet

So curious to relate, Tempus Fugit has been in "business" for over ten years. And even more curious to relate, for over ten years, twice each year, I have reached out to AP requesting press releases, etc.

And, for all that time, I have yet to be added to the press group, so I had to pick this info. up somewhere else.

News indirectly reached the North Shore offices of Tempus Fugit that Audemars Piguet has made (in all fairness) a somewhat unusual pick to head their North American offices. Ginny Wright has been named CEO of Audemars Piguet North America. 

Ms. Wright comes to AP with a very solid resume, most recently as president of Kiehl’s Since 1851.  

She has held various senior positions with Ralph Lauren Fragrances and  retail marketing for LancĂ´me.

As I said, somewhat unusual, but maybe a very good one for a few reasons:

1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the watch business is by and large a sausage-fest. It is fantastic to see more women moving into more senior roles. As odd as this will sound to several of my male colleagues in the Fourth and Fifth Estate, being male (and more than infrequently white and European) are not necessarily predictive of any ability to actually run a watch brand or it's subsidiary office.

2.  Elite watch brands are, truthfully, more than a wee bit myopic. The tendency is to presume that only "watch people" can run a watch brand - particularly one as esoteric as Audemars Piguet. And the short tenure of the most recent incumbent, Patrick Ottomani who came over from Berluti after more than a decade there could be used to make that argument. But then again, I have a different take.

And here is where we turn to Moneyball. I've said it before, and I will say it again - Watch Town suffers from a true misunderstanding as to where talent comes from, or to quote Peter Brand (as played by Jonah Hill) in the film adaptation of the book:

Peter Brand:
There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening. And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams. I apologize.

Billy Beane:
Go on.

Peter Brand:
Okay. People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn't be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs. You're trying to replace Johnny Damon. The Boston Red Sox see Johnny Damon and they see a star who's worth seven and half million dollars a year. When I see Johnny Damon, what I see is... is... an imperfect understanding of where runs come from. The guy's got a great glove. He's a decent leadoff hitter. He can steal bases. But is he worth the seven and half million dollars a year that the Boston Red Sox are paying him? No. No. Baseball thinking is medieval. They are asking all the wrong questions. And if I say it to anybody, I'm-I'm ostracized. I'm-I'm-I'm a leper. So that's why I'm-I'm cagey about this with you. That's why I... I respect you, Mr. Beane, and if you want full disclosure, I think it's a good thing that you got Damon off your payroll. I think it opens up all kinds of interesting possibilities.

Or maybe more plainly put by Michael Lewis in his book Moneyball, which the film was based upon:

“The inability to envision a certain kind of person doing a certain kind of thing because you've never seen someone who looks like him do it before is not just a vice. It's a luxury. What begins as a failure of the imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to find the best person for the job.” 
― Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

The thing is, the watch business is more than a bit jacked-up at the moment. And it should be painfully clear that a resume with shit-tons of watch brand experience is no substitute for an actual ability and talent for what the job that running a major brand in a large market ACTUALLY requires. So my gut is telling me that maybe this is going to prove to be a fairly shrewd choice, and my hope is that it will encourage other shot callers in Watch Town to start looking OUTSIDE of the watch box.

No comments:

Post a Comment