Talking business: Baccarat CEO Daniela Riccardi

The French crystal manufacturer has clientele that includes global royalty, heads of state and celebrities.

In 1764, King Louis XV issued a royal warrant to establish a glass-making factory in the village of Baccarat in the Lorraine region, eastern France. Initially it only produced glass and mirrors but in 1816, it started manufacturing crystal. In 1823, Baccarat received its first royal commission for a complete service of crystal glasses for Louis XVIII – an order said to have started the fashion for using different glasses for water, white wine, red wine and champagne. For decades now, Baccarat’s clientele has grown to include global royalty, heads of state and celebrities.

But CEO Daniela Riccardi is not satisfied with resting on the laurels of this storied legacy. “I want to lead the brand into its next 250 years,” she says. “My challenge is to bring the brand into the modern environment by using its unique savoir-faire to integrate its products into today’s lifestyle.” The executive studied classical ballet at the National Dance academy in Rome before attending university to study diplomacy. “I was passionate about knowing the world and making a contribution as a global citizen. But ultimately, I decided to not pursue that career path – it was probably too narrow for my ambition.”

Riccardi went on to work at Proctor & Gamble for 25 years in numerous senior operating roles including as Vice President in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, Vice President and General Manager for Eastern Europe and Russia and finally as President of Procter & Gamble for Greater China.

She joined Baccarat in 2013, a year before the company’s 250th anniversary which saw a year-long celebration aimed at attracting a younger demographic while preserving its luxury image. Events held across the globe included the publication of the history of the brand, a glittering party in Milan, a retrospective exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris, a light show at the Yebisu Garden Place in Tokyo, and finally the opening of the spectacular Baccarat hotel in New York City. “The hotel was a way to show that the spirit of a maison particulière can be transferred to the heart of Manhattan without losing any of its elegance, glamour and modernity. More Baccarat Hotels are foreseen,” says Riccardi.

With a presence in more than 80 countries, Baccarat retains strong distribution in Europe, Japan and the USA while expanding their retail distribution in key luxury cities and fast growing markets like the Middle East, Korea and China. Baccarat has recently opened three new boutiques in Paris, Jeddah and Beijing and the first Maison Baccarat in Asia in Seoul.
 At the same time Baccarat, which is synonymous with special

occasion entertaining, is expanding their product range to include “everyday” items including glasses, espresso cups and sets of tumblers in different colours and patterns. “Glamour, the art of entertaining and worldly sophistication are all part of the DNA of the brand,” Riccardi says. “Baccarat is an investment that gives you pleasure forever.”