Watchuseek Blog

Monday, January 9, 2012

'A time for moving on': Jean-Claude Biver steps down as Hublot CEO

   New Chairman of Hublot, Jean Claude Biver and new CEO Ricardo Guadalupe

 “There is a time for learning, a time for doing, a time for handing over, and a time for moving on.” With these words Jean-Claude Biver stepped down as CEO of Hublot, the brand he has fashioned into one of the world’s most successful Swiss luxury horology marques.

Effective January 1st, Jean-Claude’s replacement as CEO is Ricardo Guadalupe, the former Hublot managing director and a personal friend of Biver with whom he has worked closely over the past 20 years.

In a statement Hublot explained that the move was decided “a long time ago in consideration of Mr. Guadalupe’s significant and instrumental achievements together with Mr. Jean-Claude Biver since joining Hublot in 2005.”

Jean-Claude Biver has become Hublot’s board chairman, and will still be involved with strategic thinking and product development. He will also continue to be the charismatic spokesman for Hublot.

"I’ve happily made it safe and sound to the hand-over stage. With the gratification of being able to hand over to a friend and colleague of more than twenty years. And happiness at the prospect of remaining part of the team on matters relating to strategy, products and corporate relations.Jean-Claude Biver

Biver and the late Nicolas Hayek, CEO and board chairman of Swatch, are credited with having brought the Swiss watch industry back from the brink followng the late 1970s and early to mid '80s quartz crisis which very nearly succeeded in ending a fine and long held watchmaking tradition.

Biver joined Hublot as CEO and board member in 2004.  With a five-fold increase in sales from 2004 to 2007, LMVH acquired Hublot in 2008.

Biver managed to retain Hublot’s exclusivity through strategies such as restricting supply in the face of considerable demand.  “People want exclusivity, so you must always keep the customer hungry and frustrated" he explained.

Over the years the watch industry has grown used to Bivet’s cheery red face being seen all over the world, at Grand Prix meetings for the launch of various Hublot King Power models, at Manchester United for the launch of Big Bang Red Devils and essentially anywhere where there is an aspiration for Hublot watches.

It’s not yet known how operations will change at Hublot following the reshuffle, suffice to say Guadalupe is likely to have a very different style than Biver.

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