In 1982, Jean-Claude Biverbought a watch business that had virtually disappeared. It was called Blancpain, and that was about all that was left of the company. The name. Biver relaunched the company declaring completely new principals: “Never, since 1735, had there been a quartz in a Blancpain watch. And there never will be.” The assertion not only helped revive the Blancpain brand, but also the industry of the entire country. Three decades later, mechanical watches represent 70% of Swiss exports and Biver is considered by many colleagues as the great savior. Just 10 years after buying Blancpain for US$ 25,000, Biver sold the brand to Swatch Group for US$ 43 million.
After becoming a millionaire, Swatch entrusted Biver with the resuscitation of the Omega brand that had fallen into a slump after being one of the first watches to shoot for the moon. Biver tripled Omega watch sales, and in 2004 received an offer to become CEO of Hublot, a company with earnings of US$ 26 million per year who had recently lost US$2.6 million. Biver accepted the challenge, and by 2007 had quintupled earnings to get the business out of the red numbers. In 2011, the last year Biver led the company, Hublot experienced a 30% growth in sales. In the following enjoy an interview where he discusses the innovation that transformed Hublot into a success story.
The former CEO of Hublot Genève, Jean-Claude Biverled the exclusive Swiss watchmaker through their most successful years of business, reenergizing the brand. How did he get first get started in the watch business? Well, he didn’t really like to work, and the watch reminded him of the grown-up version of a child’s toy. We liked him right away.
Biver joined Hublot as CEO in 2004 and is credited for the watchmaker’s fivefold sales increase from 2004-2007. With almost four decades in the watchmaking industry, Biver has the formula for success down to three commandments. In an exclusive interview with WOBI.com Editor Chris Stanley, Biver describes the three ethic values that leadershipmust embody in order to create successful organizations. Can you guess what all three are based on? Love.
Although for some it may seem like a contradiction, the former CEO of luxury watchmakers Hublot Jean-Claude Biver made it clear from the World Innovation Forum New York stage that it is impossible to look towards the future and innovate without looking to the past. “Without tradition, there is no future,” he assured.
Just by the way he talks you can tell that Biver has a lot of passion. Passion for his work, the people around him, and for ideas. When you have passion for what you do, our work stops being work, he confirmed. But how do you work with passion, nurture a strong culture that creates value and achieve success in today’s current hyper-competitive environment? The following includes tips from Biver on how to make this happen.