Editorial. A new CEO for Audemars Piguet

The new friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is a woman: Audemars Piguet chooses Ilaria Resta as CEO. The new appointment will be official from January 2024.

In March, on the occasion of International Women's Rights Day, I wrote this: 'There are now only three women at the head of Swiss watch companies: Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Nayla Hayek, President of the Swatch Group, and Caroline Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard (if I had forgotten any, it would still not make five)'. Well, I had forgotten one. And more than guiltily, since it was 'our' Barbara Monti, CEO of Eberhard & Co.

Ilaria Resta
Ilaria Resta, recently appointed as the new CEO of Audemars Piguet.

Already one piece of good news, to which another is added today: that of the Italian-Swiss Ilaria Resta, who will join Audemars Piguet in August and then take on the role of CEO as of 1 January 2024. Resta will succeed François-Henry Bennahmias, who has headed the manufacture in Le Brassus for 10 years and been with the company for 30. He is such a central figure in the world of watchmaking that he has many admirers and just as many detractors.

François-Henry Bennahmias
François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet before Ilaria Resta's appointment.

Often the target of criticism and derision for his unconventional style and over-the-top marketing operations, such as the one with Marvel (which recently saw the launch of the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon "Spider-Man", after the "Black Panther" of 2021), Bennahmias is however undeniably admired and envied for the planetary success of the brand, which in 2021 surpassed Patek Philippe in numbers. At least according to Morgan Stanley, whose 2023 report also ranks it as the fourth largest Swiss watch company by turnover, after Rolex, Cartier and Omega.

Achieved with a production of just 50,000 watches a year - some 20,000 less than Patek Philippe - they have become among the most exclusive in the entire industry, as those who have been on the waiting list to buy one for years know.

Il nuovo Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Spider-Man.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Spider-Man.

With Ilaria Resta, more and more Italian will be spoken at Audemars Piguet, following the appointment of President Alessandro Bogliolo in November 2022. Bogliolo has also succeeded a central figure in Audemars Piguet over the past 30 years: none other than Jasmine Audemars, great-granddaughter of the Jules-Louis Audermars who, together with Edward-Auguste Piguet, founded the company in 1875.

What should we expect?

Dody Giussani

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 'Jumbo' Extra-Flat.