Rolex, the Geneva-based watch company founded in 1905, has named a new CEO. Jean-Frédéric Dufour has formerly been the CEO of Zenith, and will take over the leadership of Rolex at “a date still to be determined,” according to the watch company in a press release. The company’s current CEO, Gian Riccardo Marini, will step down when Dufour begins the position.
Since 2009, Dufour has been the CEO for Zenith, a company that has experienced recent successes, such as sponsoring the fastest man in the world competition in 2012.
Dufour will become the fourth CEO of Rolex since 2008 and will replace Marini, who has held the position since May 2011.
Rolex is the leading watch company in the world. Its crown logo is recognized globally as a symbol of excellence and craftsmanship. The company originated in London and later moved to Geneva, Switzerland, a central location for many watch and jewelry companies.
A CEO is the top executive manager of a corporation and reports to a board of directors or other entity to lead changes in company’s decisions, with responsibility to stock holders and oter interested parties.
Dufour is considered to be a youthful influence in business due to his comparatively young age. He is 45 years old, which means his leadership may more readily connect with a younger generation, and still link to the older age groups that have anchored the watch companies client base.
Dufour was also reportedly taught business strategy by none other than Jean-Claude Biver, who is well-known for his previous role as a successful CEO of the watch brand Hublot.
Dufour’s experience with technology will give him the insight of modern trends and digital influences to a classic and traditional luxury brand, and an egalitarian understanding of consumer product production that may expand Rolex’s role to a broader appeal.
His expertise with watches at Hublot, and renowned youthful vigor will help him shoulder the significant responsibility of leading the world’s most renowned watch brand to further success. Many specialty watch and jewelry companies have survived during an uncertain economy due to the loyalty of customers, but also innovative and experienced leadership has adapted to the new and changing market. One approach is expanding the audience beyond luxury consumers by creating a more casual and accessible line of products that appeal to daily wear. Perhaps Dufour’s experience with Zenith will help him launch a worldwide appeal at various levels of consumerism to lift Rolex to new heights of success. He began to dream of a watch worn on the wrist.
Hans Wilsdorf founded Rolex and envisioned the watch on the wrist would become reliable and an exquisite jewelry piece. He accomplished his goal and more. Now Dufour will continue a long-standing tradition of leading the company into its next technological and design challenges with a team of expert innovators that have accomplished great things in the more than a century since the company’s founding. It will be interesting to see what happens next.