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LVMH watches and jewelry head Trapani to step down

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[January 20, 2014]  PARIS (Reuters)  LVMH <LVMH.PA> said watches and jewelry head Francesco Trapani would step down on March 1, becoming an advisor to group Chairman Bernard Arnault and keeping his seat on the board of directors of the world's biggest luxury group.

LVMH's jewelry divisions, including Bulgari, Chaumet, Fred and De Beers, will report instead to group Managing Director Antonio Belloni, LVMH said on Monday.

Watch brands TAG Heuer and Zenith will come under the responsibility of Hublot President Jean-Claude Biver, LVMH added.

As its then chief executive, Trapani agreed to sell Bulgari, long seen as a takeover target, to LVMH nearly three years ago for some $5 billion. That gave it access to the French group's global retail network and improved margins through cost-sharing.

Louis Vuitton owner LVMH was keen to close the gap with bigger watch and jewelry companies such as Richemont <CFR.VX> and Swatch <UHR.VX>, as well as to gain more exposure to emerging markets.

Trapani's change in role follows the successful integration of the Italian brand Bulgari, established in 1884, into the LVMH group, Arnault said in the statement.

Another former jewelry and watches head at LVMH, Philippe Pascal, also stepped down to become an advisor to Arnault before subsequently leaving the group completely in 2012.

(Reporting by James Regan; editing by Matthias Williams)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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