A little over a year after taking the top job at TAG Heuer, Stéphane Linder has resigned as CEO of the Swiss watchmaker. Industry veteran Jean-Claude Biver – the current Head of Watchmaking at LVMH – has stepped in until a new CEO can be found.
Stéphane Linder took the reins as CEO after Jean-Christophe Babin left the company to take the top job at Bulgari.
Linder was recently in Abu Dhabi, during the 2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he and brand ambassador Jenson Button unveiled the newest iteration of the Formula 1 Calibre 16 automatic watch. Read our story by clicking here.
Linder has worked at TAG Heuer at different capacities for over 21 years, having first joined the company as a Project Development Manager in the early 90s. In this role Linder was working towards rebuilding TAG Heuer’s watchmaking prowess as the brand was, then, reliant on third parties to develop new watch models. Linder gained initial notoriety at TAG Heuer through his efforts in the development of the Kirium watch family.
TAG Heuer has been going through restructuring in the past few months amidst efforts to shift focus back to its roots – quality watches at price points between US $1,500 to $5,000.
Prior to this, the Swiss company was trying to diversify its portfolio by tapping into higher price brackets, as well as the upper echelons of watchmaking through a series of haute horology watches such as the Monavo V4, Carrera Mikrotourbillons, Carrera Mikrograph and others. We had the chance to see some of these fantastic haute horology pieces earlier in the year, click here and scroll to the bottom of the story to have a look at them.
The company had also debuted its in-house Calibre 1969 (better known as the CH80) automatic chronograph watch movement in 2013. However, this movement was struck from the production roster during the restructuring process which began earlier this year.
Since becoming Head of Watchmaking at LVMH, Jean-Claude Biver has made it clear that the core watch brands within the group (Hublot, TAG Heuer, Zenith) would all play to their strengths, and target different segments of the market. What this means is that TAG Heuer would become the group’s value brand, followed by Zenith at the mid-level, leaving Hublot to focus on high-end timepieces.
It’s quite possible that the change in direction for TAG Heuer is what prompted Linder’s resignation. There’s no word yet on where Mr. Linder will be going next but we thank him for his contributions to TAG Heuer over the years and wish him well.