Piaget's CEO Chabi Nouri On Leadership, Success—And Her Best Career Advice For Women
Jewels and gems—we love them all and often find ourselves in the company of those who share our sentiments. But few have made it their business to know the in’s and out’s of high jewellery as well as Chabi Nouri.
Before she joined Piaget as Global Brand Equity, Marketing and Communications Director in September 2014, the Swiss-born creative served as Jewellery Group Manager for Cartier International within the Richemont family.
At Cartier, Chabi was in charge of developing global strategies for the brand’s iconic high jewellery and other collections, reinforcing its reputation as a luxury leader to a discerning clientele.
The shift to Piaget was seamless and fitting. Rising from the role of marcom director to International Managing Director of Sales & Marketing in 2016, and then to CEO in 2017, Chabi’s expertise in the watchmaking and jewellery field was clear to all who knew her.
Today, at the helm of Piaget, her mission is the same as it was years ago: to modernise and rejuvenate the brand’s unique position while capitalising on its history and artisanal heritage.
“One valuable thing to know about Piaget is that we continue our legacy till today, but not necessarily by repeating what we’ve done in the past,” Chabi says. “We have a strong legacy, credibility and history in gem setting. We have a very strong setting signature and also a very strong play of light with our marquise cut diamond.”
When she first joined Piaget, Chabi was thrilled by what she discovered about the brand she once only admired from afar. This sparked her determination to share Piaget’s story with the rest of the world.
“Around the world, my team and I wanted to push forward the artistic aspect of Piaget, shedding light on the jewellery we didn’t see much of before and expressing more of the sunny side of life, the positive side of the world we live in.”
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“Because of our origins as a high-end watchmaker, we bring unique creative and technical expertise to our craft,” says Chabi.
“While we continue in that tradition, we will also improve and innovate. We aren't limited by one movement or by the technical side of things. On the contrary, the technical side gives us depth to be more creative.”
Recently, we caught up with Chabi in Bangkok for the glamorous launch of Piaget’s Golden Oasis Collection.
Amidst talk of the new collection’s awe-inspiring pieces and what the sunny side of life means to her, Chabi leads the conversation back to the Piaget team.
“How do I find the sunny side of life? On the professional side, it happens when I see a client in love with our pieces or when I come back from events like these—this is what it’s all about. Most importantly, it’s the people, it's our artisans who spend two years working hard on these creations. While the satisfaction of our clients is of utmost importance, the satisfaction of our own artisans when they hear of the positive feedback is more impactful on an emotional level.”
(Related: 11 Watches That Do Double Duty As Both Jewellery And Timepiece)
Undoubtedly, her team is one of Chabi’s biggest sources of inspiration, and with the years she’s spent at Piaget, she’s had the unique advantage of getting to know them over time.
“When you’re a CEO, you need to get your energy from the team. Because you’re at the top, you don’t have peers to share with, so you need to find that energy and that positive creative spirit from them,” she says.
Chabi has her favourites from each of Piaget's collections—and for the latest Golden Oasis collection, she confesses a fondness for the Play of Light yellow diamond creations.
“I’ve always been a fan of the artistic world. Not only painting and sculptures, but any kind of art," she says.
“What I value most is the creativity behind that art; the fact that people are able to momentarily put aside the world in which we exist, and not be too influenced by what we already know in order to reinvent and create something new."
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“To me, it’s a fascinating world. Another fascinating moment for me at Piaget was when I realised the people working behind the creations are exactly like this. They are inspired by a single moment, an emotion or by nature around them and they create something completely different.”
With her days spent between travelling the world for work and bonding with her kids back home, downtime is a rare luxury for this busy female boss.
“When I became CEO, everybody wondered, how did I do it? While it is a job I love, I wouldn’t say ‘I’ve made it’. My position may be seen as a success for some but for others, something not as inspiring. Success is relative. It is about what is important to you; succeeding in something important to you is still a huge success.”
Given her wealth of experience, Chabi has these wise words for women working their way up the corporate ladder: “Take a chance—don’t wait for anyone to give it to you. As women, sometimes we wait for the perfect moment to be able to say, ‘Now I can take on a better position at work'. The fact is, we don’t have to be perfect in order to go to a higher level. Self-confidence is key."