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“The King is dead, long live the King!”
Point of View

“The King is dead, long live the King!”

Thursday, 25 November 2010
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Franco Cologni
President of the FHH Cultural Council

“Talent demands effort, dedication and hours spent perfecting a gesture which, day by day, becomes a gift.”

An entrepreneur at heart, though a man of letters, Franco Cologni was quick to embark on a business career that would lead him to key roles within the Richemont Group.

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3 min read

“The King is dead, long live the King!” is the proclamation that announces the accession of a new monarch, a perfect continuity that ensures the throne is never vacant.

Although we are in Switzerland, in a federal democratic regime, and even if, thankfully, the old king isn’t dead but simply taking the weight off his crown, I should like to borrow this maxim to signal the passage from one generation to another. Better still, I shall turn it around for in our case, the king who must “live long” is a queen, whatever Salic law may think.

The poet Gabriele D’Annunzio wrote Settembre, andiamo. È tempo di migrare (September has arrived, and with it the time for migration). He refers to the moment when shepherds move their flocks in their pastures. At 75 years of age, I am entitled to believe I am in the autumn of my days, though not my twilight years, and imagine, with pleasure, taking more frequent leave of Switzerland’s beautiful mountains for the (not always sunny) plains of Italy.

Flatterers say I look much younger than my birth certificate would have them believe. Be that as it may, I consider the time has come to pass the baton to the next generation. And so on November 15th, Fabienne Lupo became Chairwoman of the FHH.

At a good thirty years younger, Fabienne has a long road ahead, and my one wish is that she should continue for as long as I.
Fabienne joined me in 1999. Eleven years we have worked together and eleven years she has put up with me. Such patience, I am sure, has given her some hard but no less enjoyable practice in human relations.

Fabienne is Gemini, ascendant Gemini. Which says it all. They say Gemini have a dual personality. I can confirm that Fabienne does twice as much work and is doubly wise.

A closer look at her astrological profile, and we can only confirm everything the stars have to say. She is lively, quick, sometimes champing at the bit. Anything and everything interests her, she acts fast and quickly moves on to the next thing. Fabienne loves a joke and adores playing with words in a very French way. Which is hardly surprising, given that she comes from Toulouse. She is a fast learner and has an excellent ability to synthesize.

Only Heaven knows how important it is for a Foundation that brings together so many brands, so much history, so many identities, to be able to synthesise different points of view and ways of seeing.

This new guard marks not just a change of generation but of organisation too. And sex: a man, a woman.

A reference to Lelouch would be all too obvious here. Ours is a different scenario, and even if the film ends leaving the audience wondering what will happen, I’m certain that, for us at least, the closing credits will be followed by a working relationship built on respect, professionalism and friendship. And on the elective affinities that enable us to work, create and move constantly ahead.

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