GENEVA — Former Royal Philips communications chief Ed Walsh has been appointed as group corporate communications director of Swiss luxury goods group Richemont, which owns 27 jewellery, watch, fashion and accessories brands.

Walsh, who left his role as Philips’ SVP of global integrated communications and events earlier this year after nine years with the firm, will be based in Geneva. He will report to Richemont’s director of corporate affairs, Swen Grundmann, who is also company secretary and sits on the group’s exco.

Richemont’s brands – known as “maisons” – include Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery, specialist watchmakers Piaget, A. Lange & Söhne, IWC Schaffhausen and Jaeger-LeCoultre, and fashion and accessories brands Chloé, MontBlanc and Dunhill. The firm also operates premium online fashion retailers Net-A-Porter and The Outnet.

In the newly-created role, Walsh will play a key role in shaping the company’s corporate communications and broader newly-created corporate affairs function.

He told PRovoke Media: “I’m proud to join a group with such iconic luxury brands known for their excellence in innovation, craftsmanship and their commitment to responsible business practices, and that I have admired from afar. 

"I relish the challenge of being given this amazing opportunity to shape and strengthen the function to protect and enhance Richemont's and its Maisons' reputation, while enabling them to live and flourish as individual brands. I also look forward to helping the group navigate through the inevitable challenges that arise in today's world."

At Royal Philips, Walsh’s remit spanned employee, external and crisis communications, including media relations, product PR, public affairs and ESG communications and corporate social channels. During his tenure, he led the repositioning of the company from a global industrial conglomerate into a focused leader in medical technology and consumer health.

Before joining Philips in 2014, Walsh was MD of Europe at APCO, where he ran the region’s operations and led some of its largest global B2B and B2C client accounts. He also spent 10 years in senior corporate communications positions at IBM, having begun his career as a parliamentary assistant at the House of Commons and working as a public affairs consultant in Brussels.

In May this year, former Teva Pharmaceuticals head of corporate affairs Leslie McGibbon joined Philips as head of communications and brand.