Zenith has opted for a Vacheron Constantin stalwart as the man to spearhead its turnaround plan and lay the foundations for a fresh chapter of growth.
Julien Tornare will take over as CEO of Zenith from May 1, reporting directly to Jean-Claude Biver, president of the Watches Division at LMVH.
Mr Tornare joins the company with a rich pedigree in the watch industry, having worked for Vacheron Constantin for the past 17 years. He initially headed the company’s Swiss business, before taking charge of its North American operations.
More recently he served as the brand’s managing director in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Biver said the new CEO’s priorities will be to focus on the “renewal” of the brand, including developing its market presence and driving new marketing initiatives.
“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,” he said.
Mr Tornare replaces Aldo Magada, who was relieved of his position as CEO and president of Zenith at the start of this year.
Mr Biver has been keeping the seat warm while LMVH has cracked on with the job of finding a replacement and stated his intention to create greater synergies between the group’s three brands, including TAG and Hublot.
Back in February, he told Chronos and Watchtime.net of the losses that Zenith had incurred over the past two years and said the company would leave no stone unturned in establishing the actions that needed to be taken to reignite its growth.
Asked how he would like Zenith to be positioned within the LVMH stable, he said: “Zenith stands for traditional watchmaking at affordable prices; achievable luxury, but with a more classic approach than TAG Heuer and with a price level between Hublot and TAG Heuer.”
One of Mr Biver’s mantras at TAG Heuer has been to deliver greater value in each watch than a customer would expect for the price. Even at the higher price points that he hopes Zenith will carry, the tactic is the same.
“This depends on the product. If I offer an ultra-flat watch with a manufactory for 4,000 euros, this is affordable. Because it is expected that such a watch costs around 9,000 euros. If it is a minute repetition, which would cost 200,000 euros, and I bring them for 60,000 euros, then also 60,000 euros is affordable.”