Jean-Frédéric Dufour has been named the new global CEO for Rolex SA. An official press release from Rolex read:
“Rolex confirms the arrival of Jean-Frederic Dufour, current CEO of Zenith, to ROLEX SA to take over the direction at a date still to be determined, and in agreement with the company’s standing CEO, Gian Riccardo Marini.
All other communication will be released in due course.”
Who is Jean-Frédéric Dufour? Originally hailing from Geneva, the city where Rolex established its headquarters in 1919, he has served as CEO for Zenith since 2009. Under his leadership, Zenith had once again started to experience strong growth, including the 2012 sponsorship of the fastest man in the world.
Moving to Rolex, Dufour will become the company’s sixth CEO, and the fourth since 2008. He will be replacing current CEO Gian Riccardo Marini, who has served in the position since May 3th 2011. An official start date for Dufour has yet to be announced. This appointment is extremely important in the watch world. Rolex is the premier watchmaker not only in Switzerland, but in the world. It is also one of the 10 best known brands in the world, period. Thus, when Rolex does something, those in the watchmaking or watch collecting world need to pay attention.
What can the watchmaking and collecting world expect from this new CEO? Gregory Pons, the first to publish the breaking news on his website Business Montres, thinks it is a ‘youthful’ move from Rolex. Taking a youthful approach will hopefully ‘dust off’ the brand, appealing to the up and coming generations. Dufour is 45 years old, which makes him a good bridge to both the younger and older generations. Dufour was also trained by Jean-Claude Biver, former CEO of luxury watch brand Hublot. Biver is credited with saving the watch industry from the ‘quartz movements,’ as well as training many successful watch company CEO’s.
Dufour is a big move for Rolex, but will surely bring fresh and new ideas. However, Dufour’s term as CEO will set the trends for Rolex, as well as many other watch makers, for possibly the next 20 years. Dufour is also new to Rolex, and will need time to learn the company and choose the direction it will go in. Luckily, he has real expertise with watches, as well as a young and appealing look. His appeal will certainly work in Rolex’s favor.