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07/07/2014

Time for a Change: Apple Snatches Tag Heuer Exec

In an attempt to bolster its retail sales and marketing efforts in anticipation of the rumored September release of the long-awaited iWatch, Apple hired Patrick Pruniaux away from Tag Heuer. The former VP of sales and retail for the luxury watch maker will likely lead Apple's retail marketing efforts and add some Swiss-made credibility to the new release.

Apple hasn’t unveiled a completely new product since 2010's iPad release, and the impending release has seen the tech leader hunting top talent from across industries to ensure its success. Pruniaux is just the latest in a long-line of new executives Apple has under its flag. Burberry ex-chief executive Angela Ahrendts is the new head of retail and online sales, and former head of French fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent Paul Deneve was hired last year to work on special projects.

Although Apple has yet to confirm Pruniaux's hire, Jean-Claude Biver, the head of LVMH, the parent company of Tag Heuer, let the cat out of the bag in a recent interview with CNBC.

Biver said Pruniaux's  new role at Apple is a great opportunity for him and that he is happy for his former executive. "If it had been a direct competitor, I would have felt a bit betrayed, but if he goes to Apple I think it is a great experience for him," he said.

Over the past few years Apple has been secretly building a team of medical sensor, engineering and fitness experts to meld with their already hefty tech staff to develop the watch and the corresponding software. The addition of Pruniaux adds some much needed high-end watch marketing experience and perhaps more importantly the ability for Apple to leverage his Swiss watch background in it messaging.