Luxury group Richemont appoints new global general counsel
Experienced European GC Thomas Loest arrives from food and beverage company Kraft Heinz
Swiss-based Richemont has appointed long-time general counsel Thomas Loest as its new global GC.
Formerly with Kraft Heinz, Loest confirmed the appointment on his LinkedIn page, where he describes himself as a ‘change agent with strong business acumen, people and leadership skills’. He joined Kraft Heinz as its GC for EMEA in 2019 and was promoted to international GC in April 2020.
Loest began his career as an associate at Hogan Lovells and has held a variety of European-based in-house positions during his career including at paper company Georgia Pacific, multinational footwear company Nike and personal care corporation Kimberly Clark.
In his LinkedIn post, he thanked Richemont group chief financial officer Burkhart Grund for his ‘confidence and support’. In his new position, Loest will work alongside Grund and chief executive officer Jerome Lambert.
Loest's appointment reportedly follows the retirement of previous GC Cedric Bossert, according to a story in The Lawyer.
The change comes in the wake of news that Paris-based luxury conglomerate LVMH is reportedly considering a takeover of Geneva-based Richemont. In February, Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft first reported that there were ‘whispers behind closed doors’ that LVMH founder, chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault had his target on Richemont’s Cartier watch brand as the key to growing its jewelry segment, which currently includes brands such as Tiffany & Co, Bvlgari and Chaumet. Earlier this month, Arnault surpassed Tesla founder Elon Musk as the world's richest person atop Forbes' annual World's Billionaires list.
Richemont is currently the fourth largest luxury company in the world by market cap, with an expansive portfolio of 26 maisons and businesses including Chloé, Montblanc, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin, as well as retail platforms under YOOX Net-a-Porter Group.
South African businessman Johann Rupert founded Richemont in 1988, with his family holding a controlling stake in the company since then.
The Kraft Heinz Company has yet to announce Loest's successor. It is the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, with eight $1bn+ brands.