French luxury group Kering has let go of Antonio Calce with immediate effect, according to Swiss newspaper Arcinfo. Calce was chief executive of the Sowind Group, which comprises Girard-Perregaux (GP) and JeanRichard (JR). Both GP and JR have been owned by the Kering Group since 2011.
Calce took the top job at Sowind in 2015, following serving as chief executive of Corum from 2005 to 2014. Although he was responsible for two brands in his role, Calce’s primary goal was to turn around the fortunes of GP, the haute horology brand that was founded in 1791.
During his tenure, one of Calce’s main achievements was reviving the Laureato line of luxury sport watches. GP first introduced the Laureato in the 1970s and Calce hoped to deliver a popular entry level piece with a new Laureato collection.
Reintroduced in 2016 as a limited edition run to celebrate the brand’s 225th anniversary, a broader collection comprising quartz and mechanical movements with case sizes from 34mm to 45mm was introduced in 2017. Earlier this year, GP also introduced a chronograph model. Whether the brand will continue to focus on the collection following Calce’s departure remains to be seen.
Calce’s dismissal follows months of speculation within the industry that Kering was looking for a new leader, owing to GP’s struggles to perform in a competitive market. Kering’s head of watches and jewelry, Albert Bensoussan will oversee GP and JR until a replacement is found.