Updated: Jan 30
Frédéric Arnault, the 26-year-old chief executive of TAG Heuer, may be the youngest CEO of a luxury watch brand in the world.
Like his half-siblings from his father’s first marriage, Antoine (chief executive of Berluti, head of image and environment for the group, member of the LVMH board) and Delphine (executive vice president at Louis Vuitton, member of the LVMH board) and his older brother, Alexandre (executive vice president for product and communications at Tiffany) and younger brother, Jean (working in Louis Vuitton watches), Frédéric grew up with the company.
Frédéric has great ideas about how big his particular watch brand can become. And his father, 72, who is known for his aggressive acquisition tactics, may have famously dynastic intentions when it comes to the group he has built.
He can reel off statistics and models as fluently as he speaks English, Italian and German; wax lyrical about the watch factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland and the 150 steps it takes to build one dial; debate the virtues of mechanical versus connected (smart) watches; and enthuse over the 500,000 members of the TAG Heuer golf app linked to the company’s golf smartwatch with great enthusiasm. In fact, he is much happier talking about his business than himself or his family.
“Ninety-five percent of the time, we talk about business,” Frédéric Arnault said. “It was always like that. Growing up we talked about studies a lot, sport, music, politics, but business was still the main topic of discussion.” Like his brothers and his father, he favors dark suits by Dior and often a turtleneck or open-neck shirt and sneakers. Plus a TAG Heuer. He rarely wears ties. Kim Jones, the artistic director of Dior Men, is one of his closer friends in the group. Often, Jones said, and his sons come together to see the collection and place the order.
Competitive” is a word that comes up a lot in regard to Arnault. So is “calm” and “reserved.” “He’s like his father in that way,” Bianchi said. Alex Arnault and Antoine Arnault are generally categorized as the outgoing ones.