It was officially announced yesterday that industry heavy-weight Jean-Claude Biver has stepped down as CEO of Hublot effective from 1 January 2012 and has been succeeded by Mr. Ricardo Guadalupe, the former Managing Director of the Company and a long-time friend of Biver’s.
Whilst it may be a bit of a stretch to suggest that this was a shock move given the extended period of time Biver has spent as the watch-maker’s head combined with his age, it is still no less a momentous occasion. A legend in the industry Biver is credited with resurrecting Hublot and transforming the brand into the powerhouse it is today, combining cutting edge technology with clever marketing strategies and a healthy dose of charisma along the way.
It’s not surprising than that many industry observers (myself included) have speculated over the years about what would happen when Biver eventually stepped down as CEO as the success of the brand has always appeared so intrinsically tied to this one, great man. Arguably though this is the best move Hublot could have made as it allows Biver to step away from his everyday responsibilities of running an international business and instead focus his attention on product and strategy development. He is after-all a marketing man at heart and there are few in the industry who can rival him in this area.
What really remains to be seen however is whether Hublot’s new CEO and senior executives are willing to take full advantage of this invaluable resource.
Whatever the future holds though we will always remember Biver for his charismatic personality, his willingness to make himself available (we interviewed him here and here) and the incredible contribution he has made to the Swiss watch-making industry.
Let’s face it, whatever your personal sentiments may be about the brand the man is, and always will be, a legend.
For more information please visit the official Hublot website: www.hublot.com