By Michelle Graff
Omega President Stephen Urquhart, pictured at left, will retire on June 1 after 17 years with the company. He will be succeeded by Vice President of Sales Raynald Aeschlimann.
Biel/Bienne, Switzerland--Swatch Group announced Wednesday that Omega President Stephen Urquhart will retire on June 1 and will be succeeded by Raynald Aeschlimann.

Urquhart, who is about to turn 70, began his career in the watch industry with Omega in 1968, well before Swatch Group even existed.

From 1974 to 1997 he was with Audemars Piguet, where he became joint chairman and delegate of the brand’s board of directors.

Urquhart came to Swatch Group in 1997 as president of Blancpain, moving over to Omega shortly thereafter.

Under his watch, the brand has opened hundreds of standalone boutiques worldwide, sometimes pulling in Hollywood stars to attend store openings and dinners. Most recently, Omega brought 34-year-old Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne on board as a brand ambassador in an attempt to appeal to the next generation of watch wearers.

The man succeeding Urquhart, Aeschlimann, has been Omega’s vice president of sales since 2001 and has been with the brand since 1996, starting as its sales and marketing product manager. He was also brand manager of Omega and Blancpain Spain in 2000 and has been the group coordinator for the Swatch Group’s Indian subsidiary since 2010.

Swatch Group said that Urquhart will remain closely associated with the company and will be available for special projects and consultancy assignments.

The announcement of Urquhart’s retirement was one of a number of personnel announcements the Swatch Group made Wednesday.

The company also said that Hanspeter Rentsch, a member of the group’s executive group management board, is retiring at the end of August after nearly 40 years of service, while the board of directors is recommending to shareholders that they elect Daniela Aeschlimann-Schneider to the board.

Swatch Group is scheduled to have an ordinary general assembly of shareholders on May 11.

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