It’s finally official: Audemars Piguet has named Ilaria Resta its new CEO, effective 1 January 2024, bringing an end to one of the watch world’s biggest guessing games
Last June, the brand’s longtime leader, François-Henri Bennahmias, announced he would be stepping down from his role as CEO at the end of 2023 after nearly three decades at the company. Since then, there has been much anticipation to see who the company would name as his successor.
Resta, who will begin working at the company in August 2023 and take over as CEO in January of next year, is a Swiss-Italian residing in Geneva. She was poached from Firmenich, a global perfumery and ingredients company, where she served as president. Before that role, she spent over two decades working at Procter & Gamble in senior roles in Europe and the United States.
“A visionary leader with a passion for craftsmanship, Ilaria will take Audemars Piguet into the future as we continue to develop our brand, blend tradition with innovation, and strengthen our direct connection to clients,” said Audemars Piguet chairman Alessandro Bogliolo in a statement. “Her proven record of delivering results through a clear strategic thinking based on deep consumer insights will keep AP’s legacy relevant for generations to come and ensure long-lasting growth. Ilaria’s belief in the empowerment of teams and her accomplishments as an inspirational leader in corporate sustainability fully align with Audemars Piguet’s long-standing values as an independent family-owned company. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank François for his three decades of service. His transformational leadership has been essential in building the success story AP is today. We are grateful for his indelible contribution and his commitment to stay until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.”
Resta will indeed have some very big shoes to fill. Bennahmias is known for his larger-than-life personality and under his leadership the brand has become hotter than ever, reaching over US$1.6 billion in revenue in 2021. It has even surpassed Patek Philippe in sales—an achievement that cannot be underestimated. All eyes will be on Resta as she carries on this legacy and many will be watching to see where Bennahmias lands next, presumably outside of the watch industry but still in the luxury realm.
This story was first published in Robb Report USA