Richemont’s HR director under fire as her CHF 3 million package comes to light during Covid cost-cutting


Richemont has responded to media reports that the group’s human resources director Sophie Guieysse has been put on gardening leave while complaints over her management style and remuneration are investigated.

Coverage of the situation has focused on Ms Guieysse’s rocketing pay and other performance-related compensation while overseeing significant cuts to staff and salaries across the group.


On Friday, June 5, Richemont issued a statement to investors reading: “Further to media reports, Richemont confirms that it has initiated a comprehensive review of its Human Resources function, which may have an impact on the composition of its Senior Executive Committee.

“No decision has been made so far. The Company has no further comments to make at this stage”.

Sophie Guieysse.

Ms Guieysse has been making difficult decisions to reduce costs for Richemont’s 37,000 employees in light of the current pandemic.

Her task was made considerably more difficult and controversial when Richemont’s annual report for 2019-20, published in May, revealed her total remuneration rose from CHF 1.9 million to CHF 3 million over the prior year.


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  1. I believe if Sophie or any other Executive has rightfully earned the bonuses for meeting historic performance demands, they should be paid out, irrespective of the Covid-19 challenges that we are all facing today.

  2. In a corporation with a large employee census, the human resource function is of the greatest importance. A large compensation package for someone in Ms. Guieysse’s position is well justified. Her compensation is lower than her male colleagues and was set before the pandemic. Self righteousness is in poor taste given the totality of circumstances. Are you prepared to have somebody publicly review your financial situation and rebuke you for it?

  3. the best way to cut costs is to temporarily reduce these inflated salaries instead of firing employees which is what most companies do (eg Mulberry). Mass unemployment and reduced spending is bad for the economy.

  4. The watch industry in particular relies heavily on highly skilled and competent craftspeople. Often times, staff with specific skills are close to irreplaceable due to their unique and time-honed talents. It seems to be that it would be far more important to focus on retaining master craftsmen with good salaries instead of high level paper-pushers and managers who really don’t contribute to the production of special products and services. Frankly, as the former vice chairman of an international airline holding group, I find most of the published salaries outrageous! Shareholders should require accountability for the actual work performed. An HR manager receiving CHF 3M? Hardly.

  5. Sophie’s compensation package is the lowest in the Senior Executive Committee and it is definitely not HR to bear full responsibility for such decisions to cut manpower costs. The CEO and other management team needs to bear the responsibility too. HR has always been facing the difficult responsibility and pains of managing the downsizing and manpower costs cutting exercises and blamed by employees but this definitely not right.


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