Interview and background-story: The man behind the success of Jean-Frédéric Dufour is none other than Jean-Claude Biver.

Jean-Claude Biver

While probably yesterday everyone has been congratulating Jean-Fred Dufour I was chatting with Jean-Claude Biver about one of his protégées. Today I had the time to tape this short stirring conversation I now invite you to listen too.

 

Maybe Jean-Frédéric Dufour is even Jean-Claude Biver´s favourite protégée. Dufour started his career with Biver at Blancpain, and then worked for Ulysse Nardin. Later he developed and managed the L.U. Chopard manufacture in Fleurier for the family Scheufele and then was appointed the CEO of Zenith by Biver. During all the years the two became close friends and Dufour never made no secret of the fact that Biver was his mentor.

 

Jean-Claude Biver
Jean-Claude Biver

 

I just got the always very, very busy Jean-Claude Biver on the phone. We talked about Dufour and his new role at Rolex and Biver also gave me his view on how Dufour will change this Swiss horological universe.

 

Now I invite you to listen to our 10:49 minutes conversation …

 

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But Jean-Frédéric Dufour, the future CEO of Rolex, was not the only one to belong to a group of young ascending managers that worked with Biver. Please think about Philippe-E. Peverelli, the CEO of Tudor; also Peverelli worked for Biver.

 

Jean-Frédéric Dufour, CEO Zenith, future CEO Rolex
Jean-Frédéric Dufour, CEO Zenith, future CEO Rolex
Philippe-E. Peverelli, the CEO of Tudor.  Copyright: GPHG 2013
Philippe-E. Peverelli, the CEO of Tudor.
Copyright: GPHG 2013

 

Let´s not forget Ricardo Guadalupe, the CEO of Hublot, Michele Sofisti, the CEO of Girard-Perregaux and the Sowind Group, Aldo Magada, the International Sales & Business Development Director at Breitling, Christian Lattmann, VP at Jaquet Droz and VP – Head of Product Management at Breguet and many more.

 

Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot
Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot
Michele Sofisti, CEO Girard-Perregaux and Sowind Group
Michele Sofisti, CEO Girard-Perregaux and Sowind Group

 

To be in Biver´s team means to work hard, but the benefit is to learn a lot. Also today Biver has his own “little” network and he still has his protégées.

No doubt Jaen-Claude Biver already today knows whom he will nominate as the successor of Jean-Fred Dufour as CEO of Zenith. Before taping the interview we exchanged some names, but of course they are confidential until officially confirmed by LVMH for its sister company Zenith.   

 

You know what? For me it is pretty funny to see two ex-Biver guys now steering Rolex and Tudor. Should we now formulate: Is Rolex being Biverised? Maybe!

 

I expect Jean-Frédéric Dufour to change Rolex in a sustainable way. The Geneva giant with the crown in the logo did choose 45-year-old Dufour as a long-term CEO, as a CEO who is still quite young, but wisely creative and credible innovative. Dufour will bring some changes into the rigidified, old Rolex structures to make the brand even more attractive to young people without forgetting for what Rolex stands for. Dufour showed how to do this with Zenith and how to quickly gain ground with this strategy. As far as I believe there is no necessity at Rolex for it, but Dufour also brings a lot of manufacturing know-how to the brand. So Dufour is the right guy for this job.

 

Before concluding this article let me formulate the following two things:

  1. Dear Jean-Claude Biver, I hope I gave you the credit you deserve! You are always a wonderful source of inspiration, an excellent teacher and what I would call a real kingmaker.
  2. Dear Jean-Fred Dufour, I wish you all the best for your huge challenge and I hope you will stay the humble and friendly guy I meanwhile know for many, many years. Let us hope that you will change Rolex and not Rolex will change you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  • Yes, Dufour saved Zenith. But his main challenge with Rolex will be that Rolex does not need saving.

    What Rolex needs is vision for future, not another Clownmaster.

    • Nick, I fully agree with your statement. Rolex needs no knight in shining armour, but a great visionary. Rolex today has two big problems: A weak international distribution and almost no own retail network, so the brand looses a lot of its profit margin. And Rolex needs another generation of products, e.g. younger and sexier…

  • Alex what an interesting interview. Lets hope you are right that Mr. Dufour will change Rolex and not Rolex him. If he can bring changes to Rolex like we did see at Zenith in the last five year then we will be in for an interesting ride. For Mr. Biver I truly hope that he will appoint a young protoge to lead Zenith. Mr Biver has already to many responsibilities to oversee.

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