Business News: Richemont Appoints Nicolas Bos CEO

And Jérôme Lambert becomes COO.

Alongside its results for the year ended March 2024 – with revenue at an all-time high but marked by slowing growth – Richemont announced a major management revamp with Nicolas Bos promoted to chief executive officer of the group that owns brands like Cartier and Piaget. His predecessor (but not exactly), Jérôme Lambert, will be the group’s chief operating officer.

Having led Van Cleef & Arpels (VC&A) for just over a decade, Mr Bos skilfully grew the jeweller’s revenue more than sixfold during his tenure. At the same time, he managed to established a recognisable identity for VC&A, one distinct from its bigger sibling, Cartier.

He has spent practically his entire career at Richemont, having joined the group in 1992. Prior to taking the top job at VC&A, he was its creative director, a role he retained even after becoming the jeweller’s chief executive.

Effective June 1, the promotion of Mr Bos lends credence to talk of retirement for Cartier boss Cyrille Vigneron, who at 63 is nearing the group’s retirement age. Having led Cartier since 2015, Mr Vigneron has transformed it into a reliably profit generator that accounts for about half of the group’s revenue and a great deal of its profits. And next most profitable brand in Richemont is of course VC&A.

Jerome Lambert

Some are more equal than others

Mr Bos’ new job implies a demotion of sorts for Mr Lambert, who was appointed chief executive officer in 2018, after having led Jaeger-LeCoultre and then Montblanc. However, he was chief executive of a different sort from Mr Bos. The announcement at the time of his appointment described Mr Lambert “as first amongst equals”, working “in partnership with… Cyrille Vigneron… Nicolas Bos… [and chief financial officier] Burkhart Grund”.

Now Mr Bos has been elevated above his peers. Mr Vigneron and Mr Lambert will technically report to Mr Bos, who will oversee “notably the Jewellery Maisons, Finance, and Human Resources [of the group]” according to Richemont chairman Johann Rupert.

Interestingly, the statement about his remit leaves out the Specialist Watchmakers, comprised of brands like Lange, IWC, and Panerai, which are led by Emmanuel Perrin, sometimes regarded as a contender for the top job at Cartier or even the group chief executive job. It’s worth pointing out Mr Perrin is the nephew of Alain Dominique Perrin, who helped create Richemont, first as head of Cartier and then the group.

This adds a twist to the drawn-out succession at the Swiss group – which has gained a reputation for particularly byzantine internal politics – long dominated by its creator and controlling shareholder, Johann Rupert. Now 74, the straight-talking South African tycoon remains chairman of the board. However, the non-executive deputy chairman role will soon pass to Bram Schot, formerly a senior executive at the Volkswagen Group.


 

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