HOT 100 2014: Jose Torrens, Audemars Piguet

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After nearly three years heading up Audemars Piguet’s South American interests, Brazilian Jose Roberto Torrens made a seismic life change last year and swapped his New York lifestyle for another role within the company, based in London.

When a new manager takes over there can often be a natural level of resentment or incompatibilities, but this charming watch boss succeeded in winning over the staff and it is one of his proudest achievements that not a single team member left as the result of his arrival.

Rather than break up the team in place before his arrival, Jose – or JR as he’s known to friends – preferred to address any staffing issues more strategically. “I personally interviewed each member of the team a few times until I came to the conclusion that some were just in the wrong position that didn’t allow them to use their skills appropriately, so once this was sorted it was just a matter of training them on the new role and this is the easy part once you know you have the right people.”

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Jose – whose other life-changing achievement of late has been to finally bite the bullet and get his first tattoo “after many years postponing” (it is a Polynesian-style illustrated shark, FYI) – is replicating Audemar Piguet’s simple global strategy in the UK of Fewer, Bigger, Better.

“We’ve proved that focusing on educating our partners on our history, values and beautiful craftsmanship shows immediate results,” he says. “This had a direct effect in 2013 when revenues increased by about 40% versus 2012, while at the same time the number of doors was reduced by 50%.” We would concur that’s pretty compelling evidence of a good motto in action.

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