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Dec 17, 2008
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Head of watchmaker Rolex steps down after 16 years: company

By
AFP
Published
Dec 17, 2008


Patrick Heiniger - Photo : Damien Meyer/AFP
GENEVA, Dec 17, 2008 (AFP) - Luxury Swiss watchmaker Rolex announced Wednesday the surprise departure of its chief executive, Patrick Heiniger, who has overseen the group for the last 16 years.

Heiniger, 58, who took over from his father in 1992, is to leave to "pursue personal projects," the group said.

Rolex, founded in 1905 and famous for its expensive watches, gave no details about a replacement but said Heiniger would remain as an advisor to the group.

Swiss newspaper Egefi linked Heiniger's departure to the Bernard Madoff scandal in the United States, but the report published Wednesday was denied by Rolex.

Egefi claimed Rolex might be a victim in the alleged 50-billion-dollar fraud by Madoff and this had shown Heiniger's willingness to take high risks.

The group is privately owned by the Geneva-based foundation Hans Wilsdorf and declined to comment further.

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