Business News: New Faces at LVMH Watches, with Frédéric Arnault Taking Charge

The division, TAG Heuer, and Zenith get new bosses.

LVMH has just made official the long expected management reshuffle at its watch and jewellery division, with Frédéric Arnault named chief executive of LVMH Watches.

Taking over from Mr Arnault as chief executive of TAG Heuer is Julien Tornare, who previously had the same role at Zenith. And replacing Mr Tornare is Benoit de Clerck, who was formerly the chief commercial officer at Panerai.

Effective from the start of 2024, the management reshuffle at LVMH will likely be the first of several such moves across the industry over the next 18 months resulting from long-serving bosses retiring and a slowing market.

New faces and new directions?

Mr Arnault takes on a newly-created role that marks the beginning of the LVMH Watch Division – watches and jewellery were previously grouped together – which might mean more activity from the luxury giant’s trio of watch brands. He will report to Stephane Bianchi, the head of the LVMH Watches & Jewelry Division that also includes Bulgari. Mr Bianchi was reputedly recruited by LVMH owner Bernard Arnault to mentor the junior Arnault, and the pair have risen through the ranks of LVMH in tandem.

Though the watch division is one of the smallest in the LVMH stable, Frédéric Arnault brings clout to the job, by virtue of both his name and experience. With a technical and quantitive background – he has a degree in applied mathematics – Mr Arnault raised the level of technical and industrial capabilities at TAG Heuer. Amongst other things he beefed up TAG Heuer’s technical bureau, hiring respected movement constructor Carole Forestier-Kasapi for instance, and launched the Carrera Plasma, a chronograph set with a six-figure price tag set with synthetic diamonds and boasting an artificial diamond dial.

From left: Julien Tornare, Ricardo Guadalupe, and Frédéric Arnault

The new chief executive of TAG Heuer is Julien Tornare, who has been running Zenith for almost seven years, during which the brand doubled its revenue. The near-term outlook isn’t as bright, however, so Mr Tornare is leaving on a high note. Prior to Zenith, Mr Tornare spent 17 years at Vacheron Constantin, where he enjoyed a strong run heading the brand’s Asia-Pacific operation during the peak of the Chinese watch buying boom.

Similarly, Mr Tornare’s successor is a Richemont veteran, Benoit de Clerck, who was most recently the number two at Panerai as chief commercial officer, where he arrived by way of IWC.

Besides Zenith and TAG Heuer, the division also includes Hublot. The brand is historically the watch division’s biggest revenue earner and led by Ricardo Guadalupe, who’s been with the brand for almost two decades and chief executive since 2012. This makes Mr Guadalupe not only one of the longest-tenured chief executives within the LVMH Watch Division, but also in the wider watch industry.


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