Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 4:13 p.m.
News item today from Agence France Presse:
'Head of watchmaker Rolex steps down after 16 years'
GENEVA — Luxury Swiss watchmaker Rolex announced Wednesday the surprise departure of its chief executive, Patrick Heiniger, who has overseen the group for the last 16 years.
Heiniger, 58, who took over from his father in 1992, is to leave to "pursue personal projects," the group said.
Swiss newspaper L'Agefi linked Heiniger's departure to the Bernard Madoff scandal in the United States, but the report published Wednesday was denied by Rolex.
L'Agefi claimed Rolex might be a victim in the alleged 50-billion-dollar fraud by Madoff and this had shown Heiniger's willingness to take high risks.