Departing Richemont: Perrin to Resign Post As Luxe Group’s CEO

Alain Dominique Perrin will step down as chief executive of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA at the end of the year, citing personal reasons.

In the statement, Perrin referred to the last two years at Richemont — he was named ceo in March 2001 — as challenging, but exhausting. "The time has come to allow myself more time for my personal life and my many other interests," he said, adding he would be working with Rupert on marketing and product conceptualization.

"I have given Johann my commitment that I will make a substantial part of my time available to Richemont over the period and I look forward to a continuing involvement with my friends and colleagues in the group," Perrin, who developed the successful Must de Cartier concept, added.

Perrin joined Cartier in 1969 and eventually rose to become president of Cartier International, a position he held for 17 years. In February 1999, he became chief operating officer of the-then Vendome International Ltd., the U.K. subsidiary of Richemont’s luxury group. In December 1999, he was appointed senior executive director of Richemont, responsible for marketing, manufacturing and strategic operations.

Some luxury goods analysts argued Perrin’s resignation may have been a result of what they see as Rupert’s increasing power within the company.

"I don’t think that Perrin was pushed out at all — in fact, I think that they tried to retain him," said Melanie Flouquet, European luxury goods analyst at J.P. Morgan. "But Rupert has had more of a foothold over the past two years and he is a lot more present day-to-day in terms of product, communication and turnaround strategy; this may have somewhat undermined Mr. Perrin’s position."

Another luxury analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "I cannot believe that Perrin’s resignation does not have something to do with Rupert’s increasing control over Richemont. But I see that as a good thing. Richemont needs to be brutal in terms of cost-cutting right now, and maybe Perrin is not the man for that particular job."

Rupert, however, told WWD there has never been a "power story" with Perrin. "I would not have asked him to stay if it were a power issue," he said.

As reported, Richemont warned two months ago that, due to the depressed economic climate, eroding consumer confidence, and the weakening of the dollar against the yen and the euro, its operating profits for the fiscal year ended March 2003 would be "as much as" 40 percent below the previous year’s level.
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