Scion of Swatch Group Founder Named CEO of Harry Winston

Nayla Hayek

Nayla Hayek

Biel, Switzerland and New York—Diamonds will have a new best friend. On Friday, Swatch Group, which paid $1 billion for the legendary U.S. jewelry company Harry Winston in January, named Nayla Hayek, chairwoman at Swatch Group and daughter of the late Nicolas Hayek, who build the company into the world’s largest watch company, as chief executive office, effective immediately.

According to Beatrice Howald, a Swatch Group spokesperson, Nayla Hayek had been serving as chairwoman already at Harry Winston, a role she undertook when Swatch acquired the jewelry earlier this year.

Nayla Hayek replaces Frederic de Narp, who had been CEO since January 2010 when he left Cartier where he was CEO for that brand’s North American business. Nayla Hayek’s brother, Nick Hayek Jr., is chief executive of Swatch Group. The Hayek family is believed to control about 40% of Swatch Group, a company that posted 2012 sales that were up 16% to $7.66 billion.

While Swatch Group owns nearly two dozen brands, mostly watches, its purchase of Harry Winston is seen as a challenge to rival Cartier, which is owned by Cie. Financiere Richemont SA. Since LVMH’s purchase of Bulgari, major luxury conglomerates have been vying to add international branded jewelry companies to their stables.

 

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Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com