Jean-Claude Biver has confirmed reports that he is to relinquish his operational responsibilities as the head of the watch division at the French multinational luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH.

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“I am giving up my operational responsibilities, but I’m staying as non-executive president of LVMH’s watch unit and its three watch brands, TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot,” Biver, 69, who was born in Luxembourg, said on Thursday.

“I’ll no longer be cutting the onions and crying in the kitchen early in the morning, I’ll just come later to see if they are ready,” Biver, who has been suffering from serious health problems in recent months, added.

He said he was doing better, but had not yet fully recovered.

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Biver, one of the Swiss watch industry’s best-known and most successful managers, joined LVMH in 2008 when it acquired the Hublot brand he was leading at the time.

He was appointed president of LVMH’s watch business in 2014.

LVMH’s watch and jewellery division had sales of 3.8 billion (US$4.5 billion) in 2017, up 12 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which strips out currency swings and acquisitions.

I’m staying as non-executive president of LVMH’s watch unit and its three watch brands, TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot ... I’ll no longer be cutting the onions and crying in the kitchen early in the morning, I’ll just come later to see if they are ready
Jean-Claude Biver, head of watches, LVMH

LVMH’s watch and jewellery division had sales of 3.8 billion (US$4.5 billion) in 2017, up 12 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which strips out currency swings and acquisitions.

Jewellery is being managed separately and has not been part of Biver’s responsibilities.

He declined to comment on a media report published on Wednesday in French magazine Challenges that he would be replaced by Stephane Bianchi, a former CEO of French cosmetics group Yves Rocher.

Challenges also reported that Frederic Arnault, the 23-year-old son of Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and CEO, would take on more responsibilities at TAG Heuer, the conglomerate’s biggest watch brand, as head of strategy and digital.

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LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, which is controlled by the Arnault family, declined to comment.

Frederic Arnault had already been working at Tag Heuer over the past year as head of connected technologies, dealing with its smartwatches.

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