A Conversation with Montblanc CEO, Jerome Lambert

Today Montblanc forms part of the Richemont group and it is owned, through Richemont, by the South African Rupert Family.

Richemont owns several of the world’s leading companies in the field of luxury goods, with particular strengths in jewellery, luxury watches and writing instruments.

Richemont Maisons™ encompass several of the most prestigious names in the luxury industry including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Panerai and Montblanc.

montblack_ceo_04Recently we had a pleasure of speaking to Mr. Jerome Lambert, the newly appointed CEO of Montblanc.

Ping Dubai & Virtuozity (PD&V): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jerome Lambert: Yes. I am 44 years old, married and have two children. I joined Richemont Group in 1997. I was a CFO of Jaeger LeCoultre from 1998 to 2002 and became a CEO of Jaeger Lecoultre from 2002 and continued at that post up to 2013. I was also a Chairman of…….   from 2009 to 2013. And I have recently appointed as CEO of Montblanc on July, 2013.

PD&V: Can you summarize your experiences and your achievements as a young CEO during your tenure in Jaeger Lecoulter?

JL: Well, there are two most import things that contributed to my achievements. First, it is my development of strong team that I recruited and strong team is imperative for the strength of the organization. And second it is my mission at that time to reveal the exceptional mastery of Jaeger Lecoultre products by development of retail operations and getting closer to our customers.

PD&V: Was your move to Mont Blanc proposed by Richemont Group or it was your initiative to embark into different opportunity?

JL: It was proposed by Richemont Group and I have accepted the opportunity to become a CEO of Mont Blanc as I was motivated by Mont Blanc activities under one umbrella, product lines, productions, integrations, and operations.

PD&V: Which one of Mont Blanc product lines is more successful and what is your future plan for Mont Blanc smaller product lines?

JL: Largest and successful line is writing instruments. However watches are quickly growing to be par with the success of writing instruments and it has shown 80 percent growth in just a five years period. As far as the smaller production lines; like leather goods, I want to take more radical  innovation approach in sense of performance and technicality of those products and increase their visibility by presenting and displaying them into Mont Blanc Maison.

PD&V: What are new product lines that you are currently working on?

montblack_ceo_32JL: Well, we are working on several things. The 90 years anniversary of Meisterstuck – iconic writing instrument of Mont Blanc – gives us an opportunity to launch strong programs for writing instruments and develop brand new watch lines as well as introducing more nicer and technical leather products.

PD&V: Coming from traditional watch making industry, are you going to develop and introduce new complication into Mont Blanc watch lines?

JL: First I want to endorse the mission of Mont Blanc which is to share the passion for fine watch making. Mont Blanc has invested in introducing complications into fine watch making and now through following that passion we are able to develop and introduce original new complication within our existing lines.

PD&V: What are the expectations of Mont Blanc since you have joined the company?

JL: To increase the relevancy of Mont Blanc products in today’s fastest growing world market but at the same time manage Mont Blanc tradition and sustain the originality of its style and its products.

Ping Dubai: You have mentioned fastest growing world market, which led us to ask you what do you think about emerging markets?

JL: Well that depends on the definition of emerging market. If we consider emerging market as market that newly developed itself, then I can say that there are a lot of golden opportunity for us to penetrate to those markets through our enterprise approach and introduce our main category lines.

PD&V: How do you see the growth in the Middle East market?

JL: Middle East region is a strong pillar for us. Mont Blanc Maison has presented itself in the Middle East market through establishing boutiques, and selling high quality products and the limited editions writing instruments. Our operations are growing very quickly in the Middle East and we intend to further invest in more regions in the Middle East in near future.

PD&V: How do you see Dubai’s role in relation to Mont Blanc?

JL: Dubai is a trading hub and growing very swiftly. It is logistically very appealing for our operations and we intend to make Dubai a head of our operations in Middle East. We also intend to get into African market via Dubai by next year.

PD&V: What is in the pipe line for year 2014?

JL: We intend to introduce two new product lines – watches – one for man and one for woman in 2014. The other product lines, like leather goods and perfumes will be introduced later, after launching our new watch lines.

PD&V: What is your recommendation to Arab customers?

JL: The value of our limited editions writing instruments are created by adherence to our philosophy and disciplines for creating artisanal work of arts. I am definitely recommending Arab customers to discover and experience our artisanal products and to create their own legacy through our limited editions.

PD&V: Are you cigar aficionado?

JL: This may sound strange but I can smoke cigar only when I am in Cuba. Maybe because of the weather conditions in Cuba. But when I am in other countries I can’t really tolerate the smell. So I smoke cigar every 5 to 8 years when I visit Cuba!