By Ashley Davis
Swiss watch company Breitling has a new CEO, former IWC boss Georges Kern. Pictured here is the brand’s new Avenger Hurricane Military watch, which was among the brand’s introductions at Baselworld this year.
Grenchen, Switzerland--Breitling has announced the hiring of Georges Kern as CEO.

Kern left his role as head of watchmaking, marketing and digital at Richemont, where he supervised the specialist watchmaking maisons, to join the company, Breitling said in a release.

His tenure at Richemont was short-lived, but Kern comes from a strong watch industry background. He served as CEO of IWC for 14 years, from 2002 to 2016.

Prior to that, he worked at TAG Heuer for eight years after having gotten his start at Kraft General Foods.

Breitling’s former CEO, Théodore Schneider, sold his majority stake in the company to CVC Capital Partners earlier this year, and now serves as chairman.

“We are delighted to welcome Georges Kern to Breitling,” commented Schneider. “His extensive experience and knowledge of the luxury watch industry and his creativity will further accelerate Breitling’s growth momentum.”

Schneider was the second generation of his family to lead the brand. His father, Ernest Schneider, purchased the Swiss watchmaker from the Breitlings in 1979, when the company was in disarray.

The elder Schneider died in 2015. He still held the position of chairman of the board of directors at that time.

The younger Schneider took over from his father in the 1990s, Vice President Jean-Paul Girardin said in an interview last year.

Breitling said that Girardin will remain in his role.

The company also said that as CEO and shareholder, Kern will expand Breitling’s “digital and retail footprint,” particularly in Asia.

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