Jan 13, 2015
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Kering names Antonio Calce CEO of Sowind Group (watch brands)

Jan 13, 2015

On Monday, Kering announced that Italian executive Antonio Calce will take over as CEO of Sowind Group, which includes watch brands Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard.

Calce will oversee the management of both brands and their watch production while reporting directly to the CEO of Kering’s "Watches & Jewelry" division, Albert Bensoussan, Kering said in a statement released Monday.

With degrees in microtechnology and management studies, Calce has spent his entire career in the watch industry. He began within the Swiss Richemont group as head of the technical department of Manufacture Piaget, before joining Panerai in 2001, and then Corum Watches in 2005 as vice president of operations and chief executive officer.

Sowind, a subsidiary of Kering located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, includes the brands Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard, and develops and produces movements and mechanical watches for its two brands and third parties. 

Michele Sofisti headed Sowind for three years until the summer of 2014. He subsequently took over the management of watches and jewelry at Gucci. But a few weeks ago, he left Gucci and Kering.

Kering also announced on Friday the appointment of Christophe Artaux as CEO of its Chinese jewelry brand Qeelin.

He replaces Guillaume Brochard, "who chose to leave the company for personal reasons." 

Artaux will work alongside Qeelin’s creative director and co-founder Dennis Chan. Until now, he has worked in auditing and consulting as well as within the Yves Rocher group and within the Watches and Jewelry division at LVMH, the world leader in luxury, especially known for its watchmakers Hublot and TAG Heuer

In late 2012, Kering acquired Qeelin, which was founded by the Franco-Chinese duo Brochard-Chan, and whose small "BoBo" pandas come in gold and diamond versions. The company generates a turnover of approximately 30 million euros. 

It was the first time that the group, which owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent, acquired an Asian brand. 

In June, Qeelin launched its first high jewelry collection.


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