From a Slate story by Seth Stevenson, on Rolex signing Tiger Woods to an endorsement contract:

Privately held since its formation in 1905, Rolex is a notoriously tight-lipped company. It doesn’t release revenue figures, or explain leadership transitions. (It had a total of three CEOs from 1905 until 2008, when then-CEO Patrick Heiniger resigned under mysterious circumstances.) Even the corporate structure is a bit murky. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf died childless in 1960, leaving control of his company to a charitable foundation he’d established. The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation runs Rolex to this day. When I emailed a polite-but-elliptical media-relations woman to ask whether Rolex is essentially a nonprofit, and who the foundation’s major beneficiaries are, she responded with this sentence: “The principal focus of the foundation is to support a variety of philanthropic endeavors.”

I did not know that.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011