Business sense

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2010, 12:00am

When CEOs retire, they usually choose to lead a relaxing, luxurious lifestyle and enjoy a break after years of hard work. However, it is a different story for Francis Gouten, founder of Gouten Consulting.

Following Gouten's retirement from Richemont Asia-Pacific in 2006, he started his own company, Gouten Consulting, to do marketing and strategic development for local and overseas luxury brands.

'I don't like sitting around and doing nothing, and Hong Kong is a bubbling city where business opportunities are everywhere,' Gouten says.

Running one's own business is not an easy task, according to Gouten. But he enjoys being able to make all the decisions himself.

'While working for big brands, there were internal factors to deal with and the final decision isn't going to be made by yourself. Working for yourself requires a lot more work, but you get to make your own decisions.'

After four years, Gouten has already transformed his company into a roaring success with clients such as La Maison du Chocolat and Hongkong Land. Upcoming projects include marketing shopping malls on the mainland and Taipei.

The founder says that success doesn't come easy, and having good staff and excellent time management are the indispensable factors required to succeed.

'For marketing and strategic development, being updated with the latest trends and always being a step in front of everyone else is the key point, so the timing must always be right,' he says.

Acknowledging the importance of time, Gouten ensures that he wears one of his favourite watches, the Panerai limited edition watch commemorating the Laureus Awards, every day.

Gouten admires watches and is the ambassador for the Greater China division of the Swiss timepiece foundation, Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, yet he doesn't consider himself as an avid collector.

'I have around 30 to 40 watches, but I don't consider myself as a serious collector compared to some other people,' he says.

Gouten believes that men place the same importance to watches as women do for handbags or shoes. The watches that he choose are based on the outlook and whether they have a good movement rather than high technology watches that include numerous functions.

Besides admiring watches, Gouten was also one of the masterminds behind the classic Piaget Miss Protocole.

He says: 'During that time, Piaget was trying to come up with something not too expensive and fashionable, so we came up with a lady's watch, Miss Protocole, targeting the European market, which had interchangeable straps'


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