Jeweller Aurum has hired former Ralph Lauren EMEA president Brian Duffy as its new group chief executive.

Duffy replaces Justin Stead at the retailer, which operates brands including Watches of Switzerland and Mappin & Webb. Stead, who has held the role for six years, has decided to “pursue other career interests, seeking new personal and professional challenges”, according to Aurum.

Duffy, who has also become a shareholder in Aurum, spent nine years as Ralph Lauren’s EMEA group president. Aurum said he brings “extensive general and luxury brand management, luxury retailing and international business development experience”.  

Aurum was acquired by Apollo Global Management in March 2013.

Apollohead of Europe Sanjay Patel said: “We are delighted to welcome Brian to Aurum. He brings an exceptional skillset having held CEO positions for more than 20 years. His experience in luxury brand management, luxury retailing and international business development is superlative, and we are fortunate that Brian will be bringing this expertise to Aurum as we move to the next chapter of development, implementing our flagship strategy and taking the business to its full-scale potential.”

Duffy said: “Aurum’s portfolio includes a collection of world-class brands which are ideally positioned to capitalize on structural industry growth with the support of Apollo and its deep industry expertise.

“This is an exciting time for the Company, given the buoyant market for hard luxury and premium goods particularly in London. We have a significant amount of opportunity to look forward to, including the launch of the 16,000 square feet Watches of Switzerland flagship store in London in June 2014. Justin Stead and his team have done a great job. I would like to thank Justin personally for his support and advice.”

Stead said: “I have been absolutely delighted to be part of the Aurum team and the incredible journey we have been on. For me personally, that mountain has now been climbed and it is time for new challenges and experiences.”

Patel added: “Aurum has grown successfully under Justin’s leadership. He was instrumental in implementing a clear vision, a disciplined strategic plan and set of values that the company is well known for within the business community as well as strengthening the company’s relationship with its key watch suppliers and preparing the company for its next phase of development.”