One Very AP Man

At the recent opening of the Audemars Piguet exhibition in Shanghai, CEO François-Henry Bennahmias sat down with HK Golfer publisher Charles McLaughlin and shared his views on golf, hip-hop and the future of the watch industry

François-Henry Bennahmias and Charles McLaughlin at exhibition


CM: I assume that has been a factor in choosing AP ambassadors?

FHB: That's what it is, so I pick the players. I always look at what's going on. The big, big breakthrough was when I met Chubby Chandler in 2005, and we started to sign some of his players obviously, and I became very close friends with them, and slowly but surely we increased our roster of players. We have now 14 guys, who had a great year in 2016, with Danny (Willett, Masters) and Henrik (Stenson, Open) winning two majors.

CM: Are you actively involved in selecting potential ambassadors?

FHB: Sure, yes. I want to meet the guys and spend time with them. For example, the first time when we signed Vijay Singh, his reputation was that he doesn't want to meet the sponsors until it's signed. I said, "No, no, no, no. I want to meet the guy personally" and we were supposed to see each other for, it was supposed to be a very quick dinner for, like 45 minutes. We spent three hours together, and that's when we became very close friends.

Yes, I want to feel the guys. How they're going to be able interact with our clients, what's going to happen? We've had a great roster of players over the course of the years.

When I think about the guys that we got and the number of victories that we’ve had on the tour, and majors, for who we are as a small company, we did good.

CM: You're making a huge investment in the players when you chose the one you're going to back, essentially. You want them to reflect your brand, but as we’ve seen when they do something wrong it backfires to some extent.

FHB: That's a risk when you sign people, against signing events. If you sign an event you're safe. If you sign human beings, there is always a risk. Always, and the higher you go the bigger the risk is, because of the exposure. That's a part of the game.


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