Interview by Carolina Rodríguez Hernández for JOLIEGAZETTE.
Photo courtesy Jean-Claude Biver.
Jean-Claude Biver is known for many things. The CEO of TAG Heuer, President of the LVMH Watch Division and also Chairman of Hublot, rejuvenating the Blancpain, placing Omega brand watch on James Bond and is known for his own exclusive cheese, yes cheese. Biver's cheese is made from milk collected only during a short few week period of the year when the cows aren't grazing on grass, but rather flowers. The milk is heated over an open fire using hand-cut wood and then aged for the entire summer. Biver's farm produces around five tons per year, but he doesn't sell any of it. Instead, he gives it out to friends and family. How amazing is that? Today we talk to Jean-Claude Biver about his career in watch industry and his passion in making cheese.
C: Can you describe to us a childhood experience, which influenced your business career, especially your relation with watch industry?
JCB: I tried to enter the world of work after my studies without getting ever the impression to work. In order to achieve this, I believed I had to combine work and passion in one. As my passion was for steam machines as a boy, I believed that this toy would become once adult a watch. That’s why I joined the watch industry and got my first job ever in a watch brand.
C: Could you give us an insight into the creative process behind TAG Heuer?
JCB: The creative process is a mind game, creativity must come from the CEO and must be everywhere (like water falling down from the top to the bottom). To be more precise the creativity process really starts with our R&D boss and myself. We exchange constantly ideas nearly on a 24hours base 7 days on 7. Then we have at different levels people who try to transform ideas in reality and then we have people who are implementing the processes, the ideas, products etc.
C: Which philosopher has inspired you throughout your career? Why?
JCB: Khalil Gibran inspired me when I read «The Prophet» because I realized on a very simply and down to earth what was important in life. I was also inspired by Jacques Lafontaine who tells you through poems how human being behave.
C: What is a good personal experience in defining your Swiss Alps cheese?
JCB: My cheese is a piece of history of Swiss Tradition and goes back to the 14th Century. I love connecting back to the past and believe that with my cheese we have a wonderful product to experience Swiss Tradition and Swiss History.
C: What are your challenges?
JCB: My challenge is to leave my business one day with the impression having done my best and having left traces of love among my people. I am working on that project everyday and it is giving me hard time.
C: What is the single most inspiring video you have seen addressing today’s biggest challenges, which include: climate change, food security, poverty reduction, and quality of life for all?
JCB: Everybody, every human being living on Planet Earth should see the documentary made by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent called - Demain.
C: What role does music play in your cheese process inspiration?
JCB: Its an essential asset and component of our tradition and of our cheese. Without our traditional mountain music, I believe the cheese would not be the same and would not taste the same.
C: Was there a particular human exchange you can describe which inspired you towards taking charitable action regarding the causes you love?
JCB: No, there was nothing particular and its just my conscience and my age which is helping me to become slightly wiser and see things from another perspective.
C: What advice can you share with the world on the importance of empowering others to reach one’s full potential? How do you empower others in your daily life?
JCB: The most important factor in life is to share. We are all born through a sharing process of a women who during nine month has shared with us her body, her blood, her oxygen, her pain, her doubt, her joy and her hope. That’s why it so important that once we are born we can give back all the love we got and which helped us to get born. This explanation of Love is clear like water and there cannot be a single doubt that Love is all we need.
C: Would you describe yourself as a spiritual person? If so can you share with us one of your more profound spiritual experiences?
JCB: No, I just love Planet Earth and I love people. That’s enough to be a good person ! I like simplicity and I am not a technocrat, but rather a pragmatic lover of life and people.
C: What is your message to entrepreneurs who struggle to launch their ideas?
JCB: Have the courage to be wrong, have the courage to change mind, have the courage to listen, to learn, have the courage to be yourself, don’t crack under pressure and trust yourself
C: How is a normal day for Jean-Claude Biver? Which are your hobbies?
JCB: My main hobby is my job (thanks God), but I also have my family, my sport, my wine, my cheese and my friends as hobbies. That’s why 24 hours a day are not enough for me.
C: What is your greatest hope for the future? What is next for Jean-Claude Biver?
JCB: My hope and my goal is to die naked, meaning that I have given back everything I received in life. My love, my passion, my experience, my visions and my hope.
C: How would you like to be remembered?
JCB: As a man who loved people, who respected people and who shared with people.
C: Who are your top three living thought leaders?
JCB: Mr. Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk.