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MCH Group, organiser of Baselworld, announced its CEO's resignation last week
MCH Group, organiser of Baselworld, announced its CEO's resignation last week

Baselworld CEO resigns as crisis deepens

The CEO of MCH Group, responsible for organising Baselworld, announced his resignation over the weekend following a tumultuous week for the organisation after the Swatch Group pulled out of the watch fair.

The company’s board of directors and its CEO René Kamm reached the joint decision and announced Kamm’s resignation on 3 August, days after Swatch Group’s departure from Baselworld shook the industry and raised further concern for the already faltering fair.

Kamm spent almost 20 years with the MCH Group, beginning as a director of Baselworld in 1999.

“I had the opportunity to get to know every aspect of this segment and, as CEO from 2003 on, drive the group's development from a nationally aligned trade fair company to an internationally aligned Live Marketing Group,” Kamm said in a company statement.

René Kamm, CEO of MCH Group
René Kamm, CEO of MCH Group

MCH Chairman Ulrich Vischer will take over operational leadership until a successor is appointed.

The corporate restructuring of MCH Group is part of the company’s “transformation process” largely in response to Swatch Group’s announcement, which came off the tail end of a rough year for Baselworld 2018. The fair suffered the loss of an estimated 850 in the last few years and has continued its decline.

CNBC conducted a phone interview with Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch Group, the day after his company’s announcement. Without knowledge of Kamm’s forthcoming resignation, Hayek was frank with the press and cited MCH Group’s “arrogant” nature as one of its reasons for leaving.

“They have to reinvent themselves. We are ready to help them, but for 2019 we are definitely out,” he stated.

“The Swiss watch industry is booming with or without Baselworld.”

In Swatch Group’s original company statement it concluded the company’s choice to host the event at its Messe Basel venue was ultimately at the cost of exhibitors and could not be justified.

It stated: “The MCH Group, which organises Baselworld, is clearly more concerned with optimising and amortising its new building - which, incidentally, is largely financed by the watch industry during the fairs - than it is in having the courage to make real progress and to bring about true and profound changes.”

Following the 2018 event, Baselworld lost its managing director Sylvie Ritter after 15 years at the helm; Michel Loris-Melikoff took over the role on 1 July.

Earlier this year, Jeweller estimated the number of exhibitors at the 2018 show was down by half, from 1,300 to about 650 after the event was cut from its eight day program to six.


More reading
Baselworld: restructuring in a recovering market
Swatch Group withdraws from Baselworld
Baselworld managing director resigns
Baselworld to reduce exhibitor numbers
 
















Your Say

It’s about time
Baselworld management was the worst and most arrogant ever. The way they treat their client - especially the Jewelry clients - was a discrace and I don’t wish them well at all. They should go back to being a “small” show - running again after clients and begging them to exhibit. It’s a shame because it was a good Venue but everybody there forgot where they came from and sucked out the last dollar of every exhibitor and visitor. Including the restaurants the Appartment owners, the taxis, all. This what happens when you become to greedy!! Learn better for next time!!!
posted by Lior Eshed on August 07, 2018 16:31


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