Nuance Group CEO pays tribute to staff at HKIA

By Doug Newhouse |

Nuance Group President & CEO Roberto Graziani has paid tribute to his staff following the loss of the company’s core anchor P&C and GM concessions at HKIA.


Nuance Group President & Ceo Roberto Graziani told TRBusiness that he is full of admiration for the subsequent conduct of the Nuance-Watson (HK) joint venture staff and its Regional MD Asia, Alessandra Piovesana following the loss of its P&C and GM concessions at Hong Kong International Airport.


While Graziani said that he was ‘disappointed’, he added that ‘first and foremost’ he is pleased at the loyalty shown by staff. All those employees that the company wanted to keep in the business have since decided to stay, he said, ‘because they think that our situation is something special’.

He added: “That means there is a very strong link between people and the culture of the company and clearly we have taken it very seriously. We have interviewed all of the people and we have tried to understand what the best options are for everyone and what opportunities we have to offer. Then clearly there are people who are happy to work with DFS and we are happy that they will keep their employment.

“Alessandra did a really great job because she started the interviews with the people a few days after the decision was announced. She has also negotiated an exit with the airport authority that will allow us to manage our inventory, stock and people in the most efficient and effective way. This also gives DFS the opportunity to prepare itself in the takeover.”

Graziani said that the planned handover will now take place at the end of November and it could not be timed sooner due to the long delay associated with the final award of the P&C and GM concessions operated by Nuance-Watson (HK) and the liquor and tobacco business run by Sky Connection.

The Nuance Group expressed its initial disappointment at losing its core concessions at HKIA back on June 20 when Graziani made no secret how disappointed the company was.
“l’m clearly extremely disappointed by the outcome of the core category tenders in Hong Kong.

“Our Joint Venture has delivered excellent performance in the last 10 years and this has been recognised by all industry stakeholders. l also believe that our bids were commercially very innovative and financially competitive. We will try to understand, in the near future, the reasons that led Airport Authority to take this decision.




“The loss of the two core categories in Hong Kong will only raise our interest to further invest and grow in Asia, a region for which our commitment remains very strong and our expertise at the top of the industry. Expertise that we really want to leverage on all our current and future business that are benefiting from Asian passengers.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank all the NWHK employees and management. Without their dedication and support we could not have reached and sustained the extraordinary results that have taken NWHK to the top of the travel retail industry in Asia.”

[Following this interview, Nuance-Watson (HK) has since won an additional luxury brand name 104sq m concession for Emporio Armani at Singapore Changi Airport T2, plus two specialty licenses at Hong Kong International Airport – one for a 53sq m Longchamp boutique in T1 and the other for a 119sq m Fine Food concept in the same location. These licences run for three years until 2015-Ed].


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