Jean-Claude Biver has confirmed press reports that he is handing over operational control of TAG Heuer and LVMH’s watch division.
He told news agency Reuters that he would stay on as non-executive president of LVMH’s watch unit and its three watch brands, TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot.
“I’ll no longer be cutting the onions and crying in the kitchen early in the morning, I’ll just come later to see if they are ready,” said Mr Biver, who has been suffering from health problems in recent months. He told Reuters he has been doing better, but had not yet fully recovered.
Jean-Claude Biver added: “After 45 years in the watch industry, I would like to focus more specifically on advising and sharing my experience. I am grateful to the LVMH Group for according me this honour.”
LVMH has today confirmed that Stéphane Bianchi has been appointed CEO of the Watchmaking Division, with effect from 1st November 2018. Meanwhile, Frédéric Arnault, the 23-year-old son of LVMH’s chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, has been appointed Strategy and Digital Director of TAG Heuer.
Bernard Arnault said: “I would like to applaud Jean-Claude Biver for the decisive leadership that he has shown in his role at the head of the watchmaking division. Since the integration of Hublot within LVMH, he has elevated our watchmaking division to a world class technical level of the highest order and has significantly accelerated its commercial growth. I am delighted that the Group will continue to benefit from Jean-Claude’s advice, and I am sure that his entrepreneurial spirit will bring many innovative new ideas to the world of watchmaking.
“I am particularly pleased that Stéphane Bianchi will lead this division. Stéphane is a very talented manager and we had decided to work together for several years. I am sure that he will continue the successful development of our watchmaking division, whilst respecting the values that Jean-Claude Biver has instilled within it.”
Stéphane Bianchi commented: “Passionate about brands and their development, I am proud to be joining the LVMH Group as the new leader of its watchmaking division, comprised of such prestigious Maisons. The world of watches and the art of watchmaking have always been fascinating to me and I am greatly looking forward to joining Frédéric Arnault and the TAG Heuer teams to continue their fantastic work, led in recent years by Jean-Claude Biver, such an iconic global figure in the industry.”
The appointments have received Mr Biver’s blessing: “Stéphane and Frédéric have my full support for the future”, said Biver. “Thank you to all those who have shared my passion and many successes, without whom I could never have achieved so much.”