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Exclusive: Montblanc CEO On Why Dubai Is Growing

Exclusive: Montblanc CEO On Why Dubai Is Growing

As Montblanc continues expansion across the southern hemisphere and in the UAE, Emma Hodgson meets new global CEO of Montblanc, Jerome Lambert, to discuss business in the Gulf.

The king of watches is late for our meeting. It is a warm November afternoon and I am waiting in the lobby lounge on the ground floor of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel.

His team, who I am with, are keen to tell me about the launch of the new Abu Dhabi store which Jerome Lambert CEO of Montblanc has flown out to the UAE to open. The trip is part of a global tour that Lambert is carrying out, the second in the short five months since he joined Montblanc in July. An ambitious project, it involves the new CEO visiting sales teams from all of the 400 boutiques and 260 internal branches which encompass the Montblanc brand.

When I meet Jerome, on the 52 floor of the hotel, with cascading views of Business Bay, he offers me coffee and apologies profusely for his late arrival, and explains the nature of his tour.

“For me it is very important to bring the message to the floor because that is the best for me, to integrate the message and through that we create an emotional connection with our clients. I’m meeting 70 to 90 per cent of the sales force around Montblanc, all over the world. [They are] the ends, the face. They are conducting the brand and the product to our end clients so it is very important to me that they feel the life and the love that we have towards the product.”

Lambert shows me a black soft leather falconry glove which he has had especially made for the launch of the Abu Dhabi store. It is spectacular. This move is key to Lambert’s leadership style:

“It is very important when it comes to the expression of the brand, that the product is a bridge between the tradition of Montblanc and the reality of the culture in the countries we are developing our activities” he explains. “For us it is a kind of respect for the culture of the country we get in to and the willingness to create – not to have an exact, not to replicate a format in every country.”

He describes his personal excitement for the UAE, and his enthusiasm for expansion in the area.

“The region is very much benefiting from the ambition of the rulers of these Emirates” says Lambert. “Ten years ago, when I used to come to Dubai on a business trip and you would think all this investment? All the huge airports? All this purchasing of planes? No, no, no,” he laughs.

“[Now] the airport is one of the top five in the world, the world Expo is on its way…the occupancy rate in the hotels in Dubai is over 90 per cent so business is very sanguine in the Gulf.”

As he prepares for the next leg of his tour, he professes his optimism for the area, declaring Dubai the capital of the southern hemisphere, comparable to New York’s role in the North.

“What is amazing to see is Dubai is probably capital of the south as much as New York is capital of the north, not in terms of population – it is not the case for New York either – but in terms of the place where energy forces itself, by the hub, by the transportation”.

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