Catherine Renier, the Asia-Pacific president of watch and jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels (VCA), will take over as CEO of 175-year-old luxury Swiss watch maison, Jaeger-LeCoultre, effective May 1, according to communications seen by STYLE magazine.

The appointment will make Renier the only woman at the helm of a major Swiss luxury watch-only brand, an industry that has been dominated by men. With growing recognition of the increasingly important female market, Richemont – which owns VCA and Jaeger-LeCoultre – appointed Chabi Nouri as CEO of watch and jewellery maison Piaget last year.

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A Frenchwoman, Renier has been based in Hong Kong with VCA since August 2008, first as Asia-Pacific commercial director and then as managing director of Hong Kong and Macau, before taking over as Asia-Pacific president, five years ago. She has been credited with establishing VCA as a major luxury maison in the region.

At Jaeger-LeCoultre, Renier will take over the position left vacant since last February, when CEO Daniel Riedo left the company. The maison – best known for its iconic Reverso timepieces – has been in the hands of deputy CEO Geoffroy Lefebvre, who will take over from Alain Zimmerman as CEO of Baume et Mercier on June 1. Zimmerman will take up a new position as Specialist Watchmakers E-distribution strategic project director at Richemont.

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Renier’s position in Hong Kong will be filled by Nicolas Luchsinger, international retail director and director of the brand’s Heritage Collection, who is expected to report for duty on September 1.

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