Kering: watches and jewellery division CEO leaves, will not be replaced
today Nov 27, 2019
Albert Bensoussan has left Kering, which he joined in 2014 to bolster and expand the group’s watches and jewellery business. His departure was announced to the division’s staff last week, and was confirmed to FashionNetwork.com by a Kering spokesperson.
Bensoussan, a Frenchman, formerly worked at Cartier and LVMH, the latter fresh from a major corporate coup after announcing the acquisition of Tiffany for $16.3 billion. Bensoussan “shared his intention of pursuing a personal project outside Kering,” as the French luxury group indicated, without giving any further details.
The post of CEO of the watches and jewellery division had been created at Kering when Bensoussan arrived in 2014, and has been abolished following his departure. As the group told FashionNetwork.com, “the division will now report directly to Jean-François Palus,” Kering’s group general manager. The division includes jewellery brands Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo and Qeelin, as well as Swiss watch manufacturers Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux.
Exactly a year ago, in an interview to French newspaper Le Figaro, Kering boss François-Henri Pinault reaffirmed his intention of boosting the group's jewellery and watches business, and outlined what had been achieved up to then: “In the course of three years, we changed all the presidents. In the last 18 months, we have entered a new phase, investing in and expanding all the brands in this division.”
But while jewellery recorded substantial growth in recent years, the same cannot be said for watches, whose market has been penalised by a profound crisis in 2015-2017 and renewed tensions in Hong Kong since the summer. Apparently, the arrival of a super-manager at the head of the division wasn’t enough to give new impetus to the watches segment, which last year was entrusted to the general manager of Ulysse Nardin, Patrick Pruniaux, who in August 2018 also took charge of Girard-Perregaux.
Bensoussan is a graduate of the Lyon School of Management and has an MBA from Pace University in New York. From 1984 to 1994, he was director of development for watches and jewellery at Cartier. He then joined LVMH, where he held various senior positions over the course of 16 years, including that of president of Givenchy Couture’s Japanese subsidiary between 1996 and 2000.
From 2000 to 2003, he was sales and marketing director of the LVMH group’s watches and jewellery division. Bensoussan then launched Louis Vuitton’s own watches and fine jewellery divisions, taking charge of the latter between 2003 and 2010. Before joining Kering, he worked as an independent consultant for a few years.
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