May 7, 2002
Swatch CEO Hayek to Retire
Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek plans to retire next month. His son, Nicolas Hayek Jr., 47, will take his position as chief executive of the worlds largest watch group. Hayek, 73, will stay on as chairman.
"I will step down, if the board of directors and shareholders agree," he told reporters at the group's annual meeting May 7. "Since I started to transfer responsibilities to my son more than a year ago, he has taken over 70% of the duties of a CEO," he said.
Though the Swatch Group's reported 2001 sales were down slightly (-1.9%) and net profits down 8% from 2000, its high-end brands (Breguet, Blancpain, Glasshutte and Jaquet Droz) are performing solidly. At Basel 2002, Hayek said sales at the higher end were very strong. Recent initiatives into jewelry and branded stores (Omega, Swatch and Breguet) have launched with success.
Hayek, the sixth wealthiest person in Switzerland, has a fortune of $2.4 billion and stands at 168 in the ranking of the world's richest people according to Forbes.
by Michael Thompson