CEO of TAG Heuer, Jean Claude Biver on power of Love

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All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy

Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

One would wonder what a Beatles song has to do with Tag Heuer? Is it somehow related to the release of its newest Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon watch?  And although the purpose of our gathering was to meet Tag Heuer’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver to discover and discuss this new and exciting technology, my intent, as always, was to get to know the man behind the brand as much as possible within the time restraint I had. Who is Jean-Claude Biver as a CEO, as a person? What moves this man who seemingly has it all? What is his belief system?

As Mr Biver entered the restaurant at the Radisson Blu Hotel, the energy subtly shifted and all eyes were on him.  He is a man of obvious charisma and magnetism. One might get intimidated but his smile and energy were as warm as he is powerful.  An aura of pure confidence exuded from him but he stayed true to himself without the need to exert his power. The atmosphere was light and fun.

My beautiful fellow bloggers (New in Zurich, Nu Icons Magazine, Swiss Glam, Girlfriend guide to Zurich, Lips Brothers, My Sweet Valentine and lifeofanit-girl) and I all enjoyed playing around with the watches. I was especially interested in the Tag Heuer Connected (Smart Watch) he was wearing. Didn’t look at all like a typical smart watch. It actually looks really good and just like any of their watches. It’s quite bulky and masculine, which I don’t personally mind. Funny enough when I asked if he could tell me the time, his first instinct wasn’t to look at his watch! When I brought it to his attention he smiled and said “you’re right!. I guess I only use this watch to check my emails, text and What’s app messages and Bloomberg. What else do you need a smart watch for?” 🙂 After a few watch related questions, we all sat at the lunch table which was the perfect opportunity for me to ask more personal questions which led to answers I didn’t expect!

Do you have a busy day after this?

A couple of meetings then off to home to my wife and kids. We have a dinner / football date! I cannot wait!

Who is playing? And who are you rooting for?

Juventus against Bayern. My heart goes to the Italians but my head to the Germans. Most likely the latter will win the championship. But no matter who wins I will be happy, especially because we are official partners of both.

What is a typical work day like for  you?

I do all my work after work hours so I’m prepared for anything that comes my way the next day. I don’t believe in working behind a desk all day long. Those hours are meant to create, innovate and talk with people. Those hours are the most telling. I will never understand company leaders who do office work and meetings all day long. How can they connect with the brand and the employees? But that’s just my philosophy.

What kind of leader are you?

“All you need is love. There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung. All you need is love.”

I love the Beatles!!! They captured the essence of life in one simple sentence.  Nothing would ever happen without love. The very first act of love we all experienced was our mother giving birth to us and taking care of us.

I believe in “caring is sharing and sharing is loving”. If someone wants to talk to me, they are welcome to come into my office. My door is always open. Always! If you have something private to share then let’s meet for a drink or dinner, but at the office don’t expect privacy or mystery. That’s where gossip and fear are generated. I try to be as approachable as I possibly can.

Do you just say that? How do you deal with mistakes for example?

Not at all. Too many companies fail to recognize the importance of direct, respectful and fair communication. First of all, I always surround myself with people who are better than me, otherwise how can I and the company grow and as The Beatles said “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done”. Second, I believe that mistakes are normal in the learning process. I actually encourage everyone including myself to gather around a table as often as possible to openly share and discuss our mistakes. Of course if the same mistake keeps happening then we have a problem but until then, it’s part of the growing process. And if as a team we help each other find solutions then we’ll grow stronger, inside and outside the company.

Are your kids in the watch industry?

Yes all of them. The youngest will also work in the industry when he’s old enough. He already gives me great ideas which I always implement. He is the eye and ear of the young generation and knows things I would never know. For example he is the one who recommended we hire Cara Delevingne as our Ambassador because she’s disruptive. He also recommended Jay Z for Hublot when I had no idea who he was. His ideas grew our popularity within the young segment. Sales soared!

I guess they’re lucky to be your kids! Was probably easier for them than for a regular applicant.

Not that easy at all! They all had and still have to prove themselves. Probably even more than others. They had to start from scratch and work their way up. I also made them learn Chinese which proved to be a great idea! I am extremely proud of them all and their success.  Again, “All you need is love”, the rest will come.

Closing words?

Inno­va­tion and Creativity are more pow­er­ful than knowl­edge. Without Inno­va­tion there’s no life. And without life there’s no future.

I cannot wait to seeing you again at Baselworld Mr Biver!

Featured image @tagesanzeiger.ch

 
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