Former Rolex managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Patrick Heiniger has died at the age of 62.
“The board of directors and the general management of Rolex SA express their deep sorrow on the passing of Patrick Heiniger”¦ in Monaco after a long illness,” the company said in a news release.
“They would like to pay tribute to the memory of a man who marked the history of the company when he presided over its destiny from 1992 to 2008, and extend their sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
Heiniger joined the company as its commercial director in 1986 before being appointed its managing director in 1992. He led Rolex for 16 years, following in the footsteps of his father, AndreÌ J. Heiniger, who in 1963, succeeded Hans Wilsdorf, the company’s founder. Born in Argentina in 1950, Heiniger was a lawyer by training, specializing in international and intellectual property law.
Under his direction, Rolex made strategic changes in the mid-1990s, opting for the vertical integration of its means of production. The decision was intended to guarantee control over manufacturing the brand’s essential components to ensure its autonomy.
In 2002, Heiniger created the Rolex Mentor and ProteÌgeÌ Arts Initiative, which is aimed at helping promising young artists realize their full potential under the guidance of a mentor in their discipline. Heiniger retired from Rolex in December 2008.