Richemont's SA (CFRUY) top watchmaking executive has resigned after working for the Swiss luxury group for less than a year, the company said Friday.
Head of Watchmaking, Marketing and Digital Georges Kern will step down from the senior executive committee and the group management committee to take up another opportunity with no further details given. Kern will also no longer stand for election to the board at the company's upcoming annual general meeting.
Richemont's watchmaking, marketing and digital activities will report to the Senior Executive Committee.
Richemont makes watches under the A. Lange & Sohne, Baume & Mercier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Officine Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin brands.
"Georges has been offered an interesting opportunity to become an entrepreneur," chairman Johann Rupert said in a brief statement.
Richemont were marked 0.23% in the opening 30 minutes of trading to change hands at Sfr79.50 each, although they have lost around 0.75% over the past three months.
Kern joined Richemont in November 2016 as part of a reshuffle of upper management, which saw the company do away with the CEO position after former CEO Richard Lepeu retired. CFO Gary Sage also retired at the time.
In lieu of appointing a new CEO, Richemont opted to promote Kern from watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen where he was CEO.
The also brought in former Montblanc CEO Jerome Lambert to be Head of Operations responsible for central and regional services and all Maisons other than jewellery and watchmaking.
The changes were made in a bid to "be able to react quickly to the challenges facing businesses in general and the luxury industry at this time," the company said at the time.
Swiss watchmakers have come under pressure since Apple AAPL released the Apple Watch, which has seen the technology company become the biggest seller of watches behind Rolex.
In the financial year ended March 31, 2017, Richemont reported sales of € 10.65 billion ($12.15 billion). Operating profit for the year amounted to € 1.76 billion and net profit for the year amounted to € 1.21 billion