Swatch Group AG (UHR), the biggest maker of Swiss timepieces, said Nayla Hayek will replace Frederic de Narp as leader of the Harry Winston luxury jewelry and watches unit following its acquisition of the brand earlier this year.
Hayek, the daughter of Swatch co-founder Nicolas Hayek and sister of Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek Jr., will become Harry Winston CEO with immediate effect, Beatrice Howald, a spokeswoman for the Biel, Switzerland-based company, said today. She was already chairwoman of Harry Winston, a role she took when Swatch acquired the jeweler in March for about $1 billion.
De Narp, a former Cartier executive who was appointed CEO of New York-based Harry Winston in January 2010, has left the company, Howald said by phone. Before joining the maker of the Opus 12 watch, de Narp spent 18 years at Cartier, latterly as CEO for the company’s North American business.
Swatch agreed to acquire Harry Winston in January to compete against Cartier, a unit of Cie. Financiere Richemont SA (CFR), in the market for jewelry watches. The acquisition was the biggest ever for Swatch, which sells timepieces under brands such as Breguet, Omega and Tissot.
Celebrities including Halle Berry, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow have worn Harry Winston diamonds at red-carpet events. The brand, which was created in 1932, has stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and on the avenue Montaigne in Paris.
Sales at Swatch’s watch and jewelry unit climbed 16 percent to 7.3 billion francs ($7.66 billion) in 2012. CEO Hayek has said he expects mainland China’s watch market to expand about 10 percent in 2013, helped by demand for mid-range and entry-level pieces. Hayek has said he sees no reason for the Swiss watch industry not to have “healthy” growth this year.
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