Reuters have reported that LVMH watch division head Jean-Claude Biver is stepping down from his operational responsibilities but staying on as non-executive president of the division and its brands Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith. He has headed the division since 2014, after joining LVMH in 2008 when Hublot was acquired by the group.
Biver told Reuters that he has been suffering from health problems, from which he is still in recovery.
The LVMH Group has issued a press release about their Watchmaking Division :
LVMH Watchmaking Division announces new structure
Paris, September 21, 2018
After an extraordinary career spanning over 40 years in watchmaking, Jean-Claude Biver, together with LVMH, has decided to relinquish his operational responsibilities and assume the role of non-executive Chairman of the LVMH watchmaking division.
Stéphane Bianchi has been appointed CEO of the Watchmaking Division, with effect from 1st November 2018. He will directly lead TAG Heuer, with the CEOs of Hublot and Zenith reporting to him.
Frédéric Arnault has been appointed Strategy and Digital Director of TAG Heuer.
Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, said: “I would like to applaud Jean-Claude Biver for the decisive leadership that he has shown in his role at the head of the watchmaking division. Since the integration of Hublot within LVMH, he has elevated our watchmaking division to a world class technical level of the highest order and has significantly accelerated its commercial growth. I am delighted that the Group will continue to benefit from Jean-Claude’s advice, and I am sure that his entrepreneurial spirit will bring many innovative new ideas to the world of watchmaking.
The reorganisation announced today will allow us to continue to grow our watchmaking division, with two objectives: delivering products of the highest technical quality, and continuing to grow our brands around the world. I am particularly pleased that Stéphane Bianchi will lead this division. Stéphane is a very talented manager and we had decided to work together for several years. I am sure that he will continue the successful development of our watchmaking division, whilst respecting the values that Jean-Claude Biver has instilled within it”.
Jean-Claude Biver added: “After 45 years in the watch industry, I would like to focus more specifically on advising and sharing my experience. I am grateful to the LVMH Group for according me this honour. Stéphane and Frédéric have my full support for the future. Thank you to all those who have shared my passion and many successes, without whom I could never have achieved so much.”
Stéphane Bianchi, commented: “Passionate about brands and their development, I am proud to be joining the LVMH Group as the new leader of its watchmaking division, comprised of such prestigious Maisons. The world of watches and the art of watchmaking have always been fascinating to me and I am greatly looking forward to joining Frédéric Arnault and the TAG Heuer teams to continue their fantastic work, led in recent years by Jean-Claude Biver, such an iconic global figure in the industry. »
Stéphane Bianchi, 53, is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. A former consultant at Arthur Andersen, he spent most of his career with the Yves Rocher Group. He was CEO from 1998 to 2015, delivering strong growth and diversification of the Group. Specifically, he directly led the Yves Rocher and Petit Bateau brands. Most recently, he joined the board of another family business, the Maus Group (Lacoste, Gant, etc.).