The Business Year

Luc Decroix

UAE, DUBAI - Tourism

Right on Time

General Manager, Tag Heuer Middle East


Luc Decroix was born in 1974 and began his professional career at a management consulting company, where he worked in the retail division. After three years he joined LVMH, before joining TAG Heuer as a Consumer Marketing Manager in 2003. His work later took him to Japan, where he worked as an Operation Manager before returning to headquarters, where he worked as International Commercial Operations Director. In 2010 he was promoted to General Manager for Retail and Travel Retail, and is currently General Manager of Tag Heuer Middle East.

"The Middle East, as a whole, is a big region and it generates close to 10% of our worldwide turnover."

What was the significance of Tag Heuer’s presence at the 2012 Women In Leadership (WIL) conference in Dubai?

The role of any company is to make profit. But at Tag Heuer, and more globally within our group, Louis Vuitton Moí«t Hennessy (LVMH), we try to go beyond this and give back to the community. We’ve been here for many years and have partnered with non-profit organizations including Save the Children. We now have Cameron Diaz and UN Women promoting equality for ladies around the world. In that respect, it is good for us to be there. We are also promoting green issues. If you go to visit our factory in Switzerland, you’ll see the roof is covered in solar power cells; a large part of the energy we use is powered by these cells. We’re also promoting electric cars. Several years ago we organized the first trip around the world in an electric car, in partnership with US company Tesla.

How are women important to a company like Tag Heuer?

For us, women are very important. Around 40% of our customers are women, meaning they are a huge part of our business. At LVMH and Tag Heuer, 60% of our top positions are held by women. At LVMH, there are a lot of female CEOs. The executive committee of TAG Heuer is composed of four people; two men and two women. It’s very balanced.

“The Middle East, as a whole, is a big region and it generates close to 10% of our worldwide turnover.”

You’ve said that a watch designed by women for women is more powerful than for men. Can you elaborate on that?

When a watch is made for ladies, many companies take a watch for men and just reduce the size. The new LINK Ladies watch features a redesigned strap and case, which is nothing like you’d see on a men’s watch. It has been designed from scratch for ladies and it is more elegant.

Why is Dubai a good market for Tag Heuer?

The Middle East, as a whole, is a big region and it generates close to 10% of our worldwide turnover, so it’s important. Some brands manage their operations here from Switzerland. However, in luxury, as in any market, you have to be in the field to answer what your customer needs. It’s important for us to be here day-to-day with our partners so that we can feel the market.

You have re-launched your store in BurJuman Mall and have 13 boutiques across the Middle East. Are there any plans to go further?

In the future, if we could have one or two additional boutiques, that would be nice. Today in Dubai for example, we have one in BurJuman and one in Dubai Mall. I think we are missing one in the Mall of the Emirates, for example, but there is a very long waiting list.

Have you found that retail in Dubai is picking up following the financial crisis?

The entire region is fantastic. Today, within Tag Heuer, it’s the fastest-growing market in the Middle East. We are growing this year by much more than 30% compared to last year. When I speak to people who have been in Dubai many years, they tell me the financial crisis was the best thing to happen because it was getting too crazy. There was no rationality, and thanks to the crisis people are now beginning to think rationally again in terms of planning. We’re part of LVMH, and despite the crisis we were growing. We’re growing more than 25% in France and in Germany for example. In times of crisis, people go back to the fundamentals. They want to buy something that makes them happy. The brands that suffer are not the real luxury brands. Maybe when everything is nice, people will try new upcoming brands and go for crazy things, but in times of crisis, they go back to the real, true, legitimate luxury brands. This year, globally speaking, will be our best year ever and 2013 will prove to be good as well.

What impact does brand awareness have in a region like Dubai?

Most of the people who buy in Dubai are expatriates or tourists, and only 5% or 10% are locals. That means that the stronger the brand is outside Dubai, the better it is for us here. In countries like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia we are doing well also, but it’s mostly with the local population.

What are your targets for 2013?

For me I’m very confident for 2013. While presenting my budgets in Switzerland in late 2012, I assured the management of large growth. The fundamentals in the region are quite good. The countries are putting much effort into structuring their economies. Saudi Arabia is putting a lot of new laws in place, starting to authorize foreign investment, and developing accounting and financial laws. In Dubai, it’s been a long time since the authorities were dependent on oil and gas income, but in Qatar they are also really starting to think of what will come after.

What sets Tag Heuer apart from its competition?

We’ve been Swiss avant garde since 1860. At Tag Heuer, we always try to do things differently. We are always making different types of innovation. Tag Heuer was the first to make watches keep time to 1/100th of a second, and to 1/1,000th of a second. Tag Heuer is the brand that is shaking the rules and trying to play outside of the box. We try to play to our own trends. We see the rule and we to try escape it!

© The Business Year – December 2012



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