2012 November 9
Richemont's New Duo of CEOs
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(NEW YORK) Richemont has named Cartier chief Bernard Fornas and Richard Lepeu, currently Richemont's deputy chief executive, as joint CEOs, replacing Johann Rupert, who founded the luxury goods holding company in 1988. Rupert will step down from his CEO post on April 1, 2013, but will remain chairman at the company. Recently, the Swiss company has experienced a sales growth decrease of 7 percent. Fornas' former Cartier stomping grounds are one of Richemont's brands; others include Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloé, Azzedine Alaia, Net-A-Porter, and Piaget.
“It’s very unusual to have two CEOs at a company and there could be problems if they have to decide something and don’t agree,” Patrick Hasenboehler of Bank Sarasin told The Wall Street Journal. However, Hasenboehler harbors no qualms about Richemont's duo of chief execs, since Rupert will remain involved a majority shareholder, thus providing a decisive company voice.
Rupert temporarily took on the role of CEO in 2010 after Norbert Platt left for health reasons. Through family ties, Rupert owns all the company's B shares, giving him 9.1 percent of the equity and 50 percent of the votes. Additionally, he also owns around 2.84 million A shares or another .5 percent of the company's common equity.
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