Almost 60 years later, siblings Karl-Friedrich and Caroline Scheufele sit in the salon at the Geneva headquarters of the now global Chopard company. And tell the story about their father. They’ve long since taken over the management. As Co-Presidents, they manage the company, which now has 2,000 employees worldwide – Caroline Scheufele is responsible for the Jewelry division and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele for the Watch division.
The fact that the siblings know the history of the founding of the company down to the last detail has a lot to do with family customs. They were playfully included in the company from childhood. They sat there when business partners were invited to the domestic table, happily rolled along long corridors in their father’s office chair, and were allowed to pick up a sparkling diamond from time to time. Scheufele’s home and company belonged together in a natural way.
No-one could have known at the time that with the takeover of Chopard, it was not only the history of the Scheufele family and the Geneva brand that was beginning. At the same time it was the prelude to the story of a successful succession plan, albeit an initially very discreet one.
Little by little, the children were given responsibility. And even at a very young age, they contributed ideas that sometimes didn’t convince their parents right away, but which they subsequently became enthusiastic about. Some of them were ideas that later turned out to be a stroke of luck for the company.
Polishing watches and carrying suitcases
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele was 16 years old when he was allowed to accompany his father Karl on a business trip to Vienna. This gave him the chance to watch how the big boss conducted business talks. He was also permitted to write down orders. One of his other duties was to carry the suitcases. He was also entrusted with polishing the watches in the evening so that they would shine in the best light the next day. His younger sister Caroline had similar experiences. “We were often allowed to go to interesting places,” she explains – the Basel Watch Fair, for example. Chopard’s stand was still relatively tiny, and everyone had to lend a hand.