Earlier today, the CEO of Tag Heuer revealed to CNBC that Apple has hired one of the watch-makers sales directors. However, the company did not announce the name of this “director” or the person’s exact position. A source directly familiar with the Apple hire confirmed that the Cupertino-based company hired Patrick Pruniaux late last month. Pruniaux is not just any “Sales Director:” he was the Vice President of Sales and Retail, a major loss for Tag Heuer and a significant hire for Apple in the run up the launch of the Apple smart watch in October. Pruniaux is pictured in the photo above (second person from the right), and his LinkedIn profile reveals his impressive work in jewelry and watch marketing:
As an expert in watch marketing and retail, Pruniaux will likely work across Apple’s watch sales and marketing teams. Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller runs overall marketing for Apple, while former Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve has been working on marketing and retail sales tactics for the upcoming Apple wearable. The Apple wearable device will likely be a cross between a fashionable smart watch and a fitness band, and sources indicate that the device will include advanced sensors for tracking health and fitness data in addition to advanced mapping functionality. The product will tie directly with an iPhone in order to receive phone calls, a data connection, and manage notifications. Apple’s iOS 8, which ships this fall, has been designed with technologies for a wearable device in mind.
While Apple attempted to hire several other employees from Tag Heuer, the source says that Pruniaux was the only employee who actually left for Apple.
The hire of Pruniaux, just a few months before the device is scheduled to be announce, caps off approximately two years of notable hires. We reported last summer that Apple has assembled an all-star team of medical sensor, engineering, and fitness experts for the device. Apple has hired medical field executives Dr. Todd Whitehurst, Michael O’Reilly, and Ravi Narasimhan in addition to fitness experts such as Jay Blahnik from Nike. Apple has also hired several former Nike FuelBand engineers and industrial designers, and the Cupertino-company has even sought the help of pro athletes such as Kobe Bryant to test out the product. With the device being announced in October, it is likely that it will ship close to the holiday season.