June 4, 2020
by Ariel Adams
Frédéric Arnault has been appointed as the CEO of TAG Heuer watches starting July 1, 2020. Son of LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault (LVMH is the parent company of TAG Heuer), Frédéric Arnault is being promoted from his previous title as Chief Strategy and Digital Officer of TAG Heuer. The younger Arnault recently headed up the launch of the updated TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here). His position at CEO technically replaces that of former TAG Heuer CEO Stéphane Bianchi, who will remain at LVMH in a different role.
In 2018, when Jean-Claude Biver left LVMH, Stéphane Bianchi (then-newcomer to LVMH) entered to replace Mr. Biver’s role both as the CEO of TAG Heuer and as the head of the LVMH Watches Division (a collection of some, but not all, of the conglomerate’s watch brands that include TAG Heuer, Zenith, and Hublot).
Mr. Bianchi will remain in his larger advisory role as the CEO of the LVMH Watches and Jewelry Division. In a sense, Frédéric Arnault will continue to report to Mr. Bianchi, as will the heads of both Zenith and Hublot. Other LVMH brands that produce watches, such as Bulgari, will report not to Mr. Bianchi, but rather to LVMH’s Group Managing Director (who is currently Toni Belloni).
In March 2020, I sat down with Frédéric Arnault to discuss the then launch of the new TAG Heuer connected and to get a sense of his plans for the company. Frédéric is among several of father Bernard’s children who run LVMH brands. While it is true that he reports to his father, Arnault senior has seemingly strategically aligned his children to compete with one another in running their various companies. All signs point to the fact that Frédéric Arnault is fully motivated not only for success but also to continue transforming TAG Heuer into a Swiss watchmaker with a broad appeal among younger luxury seekers, while also respecting the brand’s legacy, which began in 1860.