At the helm of luxury brand Montblanc, JÃ©rÃ´me Lambert is raising the bar with his visionary strategy.
The chairman of famous brand Montblanc, JÃ©rÃ´me Lambert is staring at a new model of BohÃªme Collection. It's the brand's new women only line, and the name BohÃªme can also refer to a philosophy of 'I go my own way', he said.
While having a laidback chat with The Jakarta Post at the second edition of Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong a few months back, he asserted, 'My leadership philosophy is you have to start at one point before going your own way.'
He then cited Montblanc as an example. 'The brand has evolved far beyond writing instruments. We also produce collections of luxury leather goods and watches.'
Today, this Swiss brand is part of the luxury giant Richemont with around 450 stores dotting many corners of the world. At Montblanc's headquarters in Hamburg, Germany sits Lambert who has raised the bar for the brand even further, with more innovative models being brought to the table.
'Every impossible dream has to start somewhere,' Lambert, 45, cites the quote of Alan Bean, the fourth person who walked on the moon. Being one of 12 astronauts who set foot on the lunar surface for the first time in the history of mankind is an unbelievable breakthrough.
'What makes me really admire this guy is his ability to set his sights on moving forward, from being a pilot to an astronaut. Bean is one of my leadership role models that inspires me with a vision of building a future. In my position as a CEO, I find that envisioning the company's mission is of great importance. This is the energy that leads my team to set the direction of where we are going,' the Swiss-Frenchman said.
Value of teamwork
Lambert has a long history of leading luxury watch companies. He became the leader of Montblanc at the age of 43, after almost 12 years at the helm of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Both brands are owned by Richemont. The difference is simply that one is a pure watchmaker and the other has a diversified product portfolio. Montblanc's much higher turnover is also another plus point. Undoubtedly, the appointment to his current position has climbed Lambert higher in his professional life.
Leading 3,000 some people is definitely no easy task, but Lambert always sees the value of teamwork as a collaborative effort to achieve common goals.
'Our communal goals involve everything related to the brand. And I expect everybody to feel the same necessity. The stronger the team is, the more we can contribute to the company. The more sound and profitable the company is, the greater opportunity for every team member to climb the corporate ladder. This way, we create a win-win solution for everyone in the business,' he said.
The visionary leader admits that teamwork is always attached to his visionary strategy. For that reason, he believes in exemplarity, in feeling a sense of accomplishment and in pragmatic thinking.
'That's how I execute my leadership in managing my team. Exemplarity simply means a leader serving as a role model to positively influence his or her subordinates. And you have to do some work first before you feel a sense of accomplishment. You won't get that feeling if the work you do doesn't make you proud of doing it.'
By definition, pragmatism means the sense of reality. According to etymology, it is related to action. 'In my dictionary pragmatism means action, action means progress, progress means future and future means innovation. Leveraging innovation is crucial to advance a business. At Montblanc, the variety of the products change, so we always have to innovate something new. In other words, innovation is our tradition of tomorrow,' he said.
Aside from continuing to innovate new products, Lambert said that expansion is also what Montblanc is focused on. 'We have expanded to Asia and have for 10 years been the leading market in the region for watches. There's also strong market development in the entire southern hemisphere, such as in South America, South Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. And we have been focusing more on Indonesia as Southeast Asia's largest country.'
Both product innovation and business expansion are crucial, he adds. 'But again, we will never have been there without drafting a clear business map. To get there, it takes a strong team with foresight, which can help all in the team to perform at their highest level.'
(Aulia R. Sungkar)
Date of birth
August 17, 1969
CEO of Montblanc International GmbH since July 2013; previously served as CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre (2002-June 2013); chief financial and operating officer (1999-2002) and financial controller (1996-1999), both in Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Holds bachelor's degree from ESG Management School, Paris; and post-graduate degree from Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP).
Active by nature
I love doing activities that relate to open space and mountains. Hamburg where I live is a real getaway to outdoor winter fun, with skiing being top on my list. Jogging outdoors has long been my regular morning activity. I also like running, including marathons.
I'm always amazed by the diversity of human beings. I went to Peru for the first time in September. Its natural landscape truly mirrors its local culture. Travelling to a big city for me is a bit boring. I like the interaction of culture, country and nature ' something that I love to treasure the most when travelling.
Weekends and holiday seasons for me is where I recharge my batteries with my wife and two children. Regardless of what we are doing, be it watching movies on DVD or dining out, spending quality time with my family is an incomparable source of happiness. Vacations can be more fun when I bring along my family. Southwest France is one of our favorite destinations.