Our comprehensive review of 2012 has revealed the top CEOs in each luxury industry category, based on financial performance, creativity and capacity to adapt to a volatile international economic climate.
Robert Gaymer-Jones, CEO of Sofitel Hotels, for his capacity to reposition the French luxury hotel brand and for the spectacular new openings (Vienna, Bangkok, Mumbai etc) and the consistency in terms of product and service which the chain has maintained. Some of the critical decisions were to re-brand to a lower positioned brand within the Accor Group of many Parisian hotels – from 9 Sofitel hotels, today, there are two. For many of the new openings Sofitel has been collaborating with famous architects and interior designers (including fashion designers- Kenzo Takada, Christian Lacroix).
Diego Della Valle, CEO of Tod’s Group, whose strategic approach based on ”Made in Italy” has proven successful for its flagship brands, Tod’s and Hogan. Since acquiring Roger Vivier, Della Valle has revived the luxury shoe brand, bringing it back to its former glory and making it one of the most desirable in the world. Della Valle has also sparked controversy in his home country, Italy, being vocal on economic policies by authorities but also for his involvement to invest in the restoration of the iconic Colosseum in Rome. In 2012, Della Valle made a sensible decision to acquire the dormant fashion house of Elsa Schiaparelli, the re-launch being expected for the second half of 2013, the house original showroom being maintained in Place Vendome.
Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of PRADA Group, for the stellar performance of Prada following the hugely successful IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and his unique take on the relationship between luxury and lifestyle – Prada’s unique artistic and cultural initiatives (i.e. Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations , at the Met in New York, the short film at the Cannes Film Festival and Prada’s Luna Rossa sailing boat which participates at America’s Cup, to name a few). Probably one of the most discreet CEOs, rarely even attending major store openings, together with his wife, Miuccia Prada, Mr Bertelli have grown production capacity as the number of stores has almost doubled in the past 2 years, without compromising on quality and craftsmanship.
Stanislas de Quercize, CEO of Van Cleef Arpels, for establishing the brand among the finest luxury jewellery brands in the world, its reputation being based on creativity and craftsmanship. Van Cleef Arpels started a jewellery school, based in the epicentre of fine jewellery, Place Vendome in Paris, which is also the headquarters of the brand. The brand has expanded internationally, with few locations, focusing on mono-brand boutiques. Quercize’s successful tenure at Van Cleef Arpels has motivated the Board of Richemont Group (parent company of Van Cleef Arpels) to name Quercize CEO of Cartier, taking over from Bernard Fornas at the end of 2012.
Thierry Stern, CEO and President Watches at Patek Philippe, for his strategic approach to focus on innovation and customer service, while adopting a subtle and very sensible approach to social media and the internet, while staying true to the brand’s values and heritage. Stern’s focus on developing relationships with long term retail partners has also ensured a positive performance in 2012, with solid and sustainable long term objectives.
Rupert Stadler, CEO of Audi AG for the exceptional performance of the brand in 2012 across all markets worldwide, surpassing major direct competitors and positioning the brand as a true luxury car brand. Most of the Audi new launches at this year’s major car shows have shown Audi’s commitment to the environment but also Mr Stadler’s audacious approach to design, which has allowed for increasingly dramatic changes to traditional models. Audi AG has made a strategic acquisition with Ducati which will likely prove to be a long term success.
Margo Marone, CEO of The Organic Pharmacy, a pharmacist and homeopath who launched her own brand in 2002 and together with her husband, has turned The Organic Pharmacy into one of the world’s leading organic based beauty brands, including the very successful launch of the company’s first organic fragrances and make up line as well as expanding worldwide with a cautious approach at the SPAs of some of the finest luxury hotels, for many of which Mrs Marone has created bespoke treatments (Le Bristol, Paris; Four Seasons Park Lane, London; Four Seasons, Hong Kong; The Setai, New York etc.
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