Originally Posted by Belligero
Do you have a link to the interview? That's really unfortunate if someone who's not a watch person is at the helm of AP. Richemont's celebrities,-fashion-and-branding streak has managed to destroy IWC in my eyes; it would be a shame for another old house to suffer the same fate — though the endless ROO clown editions are a sign that it's already been happening.
He's been with AP for more than 15 years so I'm not sure I'd say he is NOT a watch person at this point. To be honest, some companies have done quite well have being helmed by people from the outside. I don't think Nicolas Hayek's formal background was not in the watch industry. Some of his skills may have been transferable, but again not originally a watch guy. As for the Limited Editions...don't get me started I can' stand most RO Offshores Ltd eds, IWC Ltd eds, Omega Ltd eds,...but as long as their are people who will pay a premium to get a watch with slightly different stitching on a strap, or a different colored second hand, the watch companies will continue to make them.
Originally Posted by johanm
Looks like AP is gearing up for a Richemont style strategy of severing ties with ADs and shifting focus to boutique sales. I read an interview with their current CEO, Bennahmias, where he seemed intensely fixated on brand management - enhancement from celebrity endorsements and customer service, and damage from grey market and AD discounting. I'm interested to see if his strategy will work. I understand he has basically no knowledge about watches, and came to AP from a background of fashion marketing.
Many companies such as Rolex or those under Richemont have cancelled contracts with a number of ADs world wide...both in an effort to get rid of those offering deep discounts, and to eliminate some of the middlemen and open boutiques in major cities. All companies have some level of brand management, if they have a brand image worth protecting or marketing. I do not like the celebrity endorsements as I think it cheapens brands and is never an inflence on my decision of what to purchase. However, many companies are affiliated with some celebrities with little harm to the brand.
As for how he came to AP, my understanding was that Georges Meylan, former CEO of AP, was vacationing and was familiar with Bennahmias's wife who worked for Breitling. He bumped into the Bennahmiases on that vacation. Bennahmias was unemployed at the time and after talking with him, Meylan offered him a job at AP. The rest is history, as for a background in fashion marketing...that might just be prior on the job training. IIRC, he didn't have a college degree...when I read that back in the 1990s when he first came to AP North America...I thought wow thats lucky to get a job like that! Still, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Bennahmias being very successful with the brand. He is largely responsible for helping to increase brand awareness and to help turn their sales from roughly a few million dollars per year to several hundred million dollars per year.