Swarovski appoints Alexis Nasard as CEO
For the first time in 127 years of existence, Swarovski will not have a member of the founding family at its helm. The Austrian crystalware group has in fact appointed Alexis Nasard as CEO. He is taking over from Michel Molon, who has been CEO ad interim since last October.
Robert Buchbauer, the Austrian group's former CEO, and Mathias Margreiter, the group's CFO, both members of the Swarovski family, tendered their resignation last October. The group then surprisingly announced that for the first time it was looking for a top executive outside the family. Molon has been in charge for nine months. He will now assume the newly created role of chief commercial officer.
Nasard, a senior business advisor at McKinsey & Company, will take charge of Swarovski leveraging his previous experience as managing director of Procter & Gamble, from 1992 to 2009, and as CEO of Bata, from 2016 to 2021. A former board member at Salvatore Ferragamo and advertising agency BBH, he was CEO of Kantar from December 2020 to June 2021, and president western Europe of the Heineken Group in 2010-2015.
“With the appointment of Swarovski’s first external CEO, we are taking an important further step in establishing a sustainable governance model,” said Luisa Delgado, chair of the board of directors. “With Alexis Nasard as the new CEO, we are very pleased to have been able to select a highly experienced and transformational leadership personality, who is capable of leading Swarovski in the affirmation of its iconic luxury heritage and through its business transformation,” she added.
Nasard, who will assume his role on July 4, mentioned his intention of raising the brand's profile and boosting its visibility. “Swarovski fascinates me as a luxury brand, a cultural icon, and as a fully integrated business model, with its unique positioning in the world of jewellery, design, fashion, stage and screen,” said Nasard. “From day one, I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues around the world and partnering with Giovanna Engelbert, Swarovski's creative director, to implement the group’s transformation plan,” he added.
The enthusiasm notwithstanding, the transition from family-run company to straightforward family company is taking place at a difficult time for the group. At the height of the pandemic, Swarovski closed down 3,000 of its 9,000 stores worldwide, and cut more than 1,000 jobs at its headquarters in Wattens, Austria.
Swarovski was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, the inventor of a machine for turning glass into diamond chip. On March 8, the group announced it had suspended its operations in Russia, in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
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