Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Dick Move - The Transfer Window Opens at Richemont

Yes, gentle reader, it's going to get a bit "blue"...

Per the Urban Dictionary:

When a person goes out of their way to do something that barely improves their life but greatly inconveniences those around them for no other reason than to be a dick

by Pinkman84 July 13, 2015

Word reached the Northshore offices of Tempus Fugit late yesterday afternoon that the shot-callers at Richemont once again had a bad case of the fidgets. And as someone far smarter, better informed and (if we're being honest about it), better liked than yours truly (G. Pons) puts it, the latest game of musical chairs is on. And it seems that this time the axe is falling on someone who did what they were asked to do, and now has gotten her ticket punched as a thank-you.

Chabi Nouri, if the reports from Ms. Tweed, Bilan, Le Temps, and other sources are to be believed, has been relieved of her position at Piaget. The reasoning given that sales at Piaget have been slumping (which is not exactly "new" news), and per Ms. Tweed -

"Several industry sources blamed Chabi, saying she had focused too much on high jewelry, the Middle East and Asia and neglected Piaget’s core watch customers in other regions." 

Shamelessly borrowed from the World-Wide Infoweb

Now let's jump in the "Wayback Machine" to those thrilling days of...just over four years ago, when Ms. Chabi was appointed CEO and her predecessor had this to say about high jewelry watches -

(As the Financial Times has some pretty sticky policies about quoting their articles, I urge you to read the article linked above).

To paraphrase, Philippe LĂ©opold-Metzger essentially said that Piaget had probably neglected jewelry watches too much, and that this would be part of Ms. Nouri's mandate. Even more ironic when you consider that the young man warming up on the touchline and getting ready to take off his tracksuit and go into the match is coming from... you guessed it - a JEWELRY company. So, it seems that if the "industry insiders" are to be believed, she did what she was asked to do and is now moving to be a “strategic adviser” to Richemont CEO Jerome Lambert, which I suspect is not unlike a duck making the move to l'Orange. And pretty ironic that someone else with (what I am assuming) is pretty much a jewelry background) is being brought in to run the watch brand that was "too" jewelry focused? What the actual f___k?!?

There are, of course, other rumblings about what the real reasons for her departure are. And it does not help that other rumors are starting to swirl about the future of Richemont's other female watch brand CEO. Let's just say it does not do Richemont's and Rupert's claim that they wanted to break the "sapphire crystal" ceiling much good.

Here's the thing, and it's something that the big dogs at Richemont seem to be having a tough time getting their heads around, it takes time to turn things around. As that other great commentator on the watch business, Barry Hearn once opined -

"You can't take a baby and turn it into a teenager overnight, things take time."

And this is the part that I find particularly curious, and almost perverse - there is at least 1(if not 2) layer/s of supervisory management that separates each of the Richemont CEOs from Rupert and ultimately the board.  So if these CEOs are failing so dramatically, what does that say about the guy who is supposed to be managing them?  We shall wait and we shall see.

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