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Audemars Piguet Names Beauty Executive Ilaria Resta as New CEO

PARIS — Audemars Piguet has appointed a veteran beauty executive its new chief executive officer.

Ilaria Resta will be joining the Swiss watchmaker from Swiss fragrance and flavors supplier DSM-Firmenich, succeeding longtime CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, who said last year that he planned to leave the company by the end of 2023 after almost 30 years.

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Resta is set to join Audemars Piguet in August and will officially take on the role of CEO on Jan. 1, following a transition period, the watchmaker said in a statement Monday. Bennahmias will remain on board until the end of the year to ensure a “seamless and orderly” handover, it added.

The company said Resta, a Swiss-Italian national who lives near Geneva, was recruited after “an extensive global search.” She had been with Firmenich for just over three years, most recently serving as president of its integrated perfumery and ingredients division, and member of the executive committee. Firmenich merged with DSM earlier this month to form DSM-Firmenich.

Prior to that, she spent more than 22 years at Procter & Gamble in a variety of roles, starting in Rome and culminating with the position of senior vice president, hair care, North America, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Resta is the latest beauty executive to make the jump into luxury as a host of firms, led by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, speed up their recruitment from the L’Oréals and P&Gs of the world, attracted by the formidable marketing, digital, brand and consumer engagement skills baked in there.

“Her proven record of delivering results through a clear strategic thinking based on deep consumer insights will keep AP’s legacy relevant for generations to come and ensure long lasting growth,” said Alessandro Bogliolo, chairman of Audemars Piguet.

“Ilaria’s belief in the empowerment of teams and her accomplishments as an inspirational leader in corporate sustainability fully align with Audemars Piguet’s longstanding values as an independent family-owned company,” he added.

Bogliolo thanked Bennahmias for his long tenure. “His transformational leadership has been essential in building the success story AP is today. We are grateful for his indelible contribution and his commitment to stay until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition,” he said.

After leading the watchmaker through a period of rapid growth, Bennahmias had informed the board of his desire to retire after the 50th anniversary of the brand’s Royal Oak in 2022.

Known as Hollywood’s favorite watch, the timepiece is popular with celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber and Drake, and has been fronted by brand ambassadors including Serena Williams, LeBron James and Mark Ronson.

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