According to a source within LVMH, “Zenith is the brand every one loves but nobody buys.” The strain and pressures were even more evident when Jean-Claude Biver announced low confidence in Zenith management and took the helm as interim CEO for Zenith while keeping his portfolio as Head of Watchmaking at LVMH Watch & Jewellery Division; his plan at the time was to fill the role within 6 months and now he has, 3 months ahead of time.
Jean-Claude Biver announces Julien Tornare as CEO of Zenith
Biver assumed the role of interim CEO of Zenith at the start of 2017, just before SIHH. While it would be a stretch to assume that Biver had direct hand with Zenith’s Baselworld 2017 novelties, his influence was nevertheless evident in the hyper-masculine angles and openworked dials expressed in this year’s Zenith novelties. Nevertheless, one of the industry’s most prominent over-achievers has once again beat deadlines and expectations with announcement of the new CEO of Zenith.
“Julien’s strong international and commercial experience in Watches will be crucial to the development of Zenith, which is enjoying renewed success since Baselworld and the launch of Defy El Primero 21” – Jean-Claude Biver
After spending 17 years at Vacheron Constantin, Tornare joins LVMH as CEO of Zenith following months of management turmoil at Richemont Group which saw major senior executive re-shuffling across the rival watch group. Tornare, a long time veteran of the industry had worked at Raymond Weil for two years before his stint at Vacheron where he was given a variety of roles when he joined in 2000.
The University of Geneva Economics Graduate was initially as head of the Swiss market and later, President of the North American market. From 2009 to 2011, Tornare headed Vacheron Constantin for international sales before helming the Asia-Pacific region as Managing Director for the last 7 years, ending his tenure at the world’s oldest continuously operating watchmaker in April 2017.
In a statement to French news networks, Tornare is fully aware of the steep challenges he will face at Zenith as he officially assumes the role of renewing Zenith, developing its markets and activating its marketing initiatives effective May 1st, 2017. Meanwhile Biver has confirmed that his hands-on approach will continue his involvement at Zenith even as Tornare assumes the portfolio.