Monday, January 24, 2022

The Transfer Window Will Apparently Open

At Audemars Piguet...

If anything could completely eclipse the news of the management buyout of GP/UN from Kering in the collective consciousness of Watch Town, it was the news put forward by Miss Tweed regarding the rumored potential departure of the current CEO of Audemars Piguet, Fran├žois-Henry Bennahmias. 

While it is safe to say that nothing lasts forever, the news of a potential, semi-imminent departure of a CEO without a clearly defined succession plan actually raises far more questions than it answers. Miss Tweed's article indicated that an outside (located outside of Switzerland) search firm might be used to try and find the right person to take over. It was also hinted that there would be no small amount of jockeying for position internally. In other words, to paraphrase - there is chaos under heaven, and the situation is excellent!

Now, with all due respect to the brand, and Mr. Bennahmias's achievements, the one key question it begs is the one nobody seems to be asking - Why now?

If I have understood correctly he is still pretty young. It also seems somewhat odd that there appears to be no clear succession plan in place. If you're planning on leaving, wouldn't you have identified some folks with the talent and temperament to take over? Moreover, a succession plan is (even at a neighborhood 7-Eleven) a fairly standard business practice in the infamous "In case I get hit by a bus..." scenario. It would not be unreasonable to assume that in the 10 years or so he has been in charge, he might have identified a few people to mentor. Which again begs the question - why an outside search firm?  Audemars Piguet has more than enough money, resources and people to have developed several reasonable options in the past 10 years. The real question is, did they?

Not a sausage from Le Brassus where one outlet reported that their request for comment received a summary no comment, other than that AP "would not comment on rumors".

So we shall wait, and we shall see...

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