Amid recent struggles and sexual harassment allegations, Signet Jewelers names new female CEO
Shares of Signet Jewelers (SIG) are in focus in morning trading after the company said Chief Executive Officer Mark Light would be succeeded by named Virginia Drosos on August 1.
The appointment comes after the company reported quarterly earnings below expectations in May, disclosed the resignation of its COO, announced plans to outsource its credit portfolio and faced sexual harassment allegations.
Signet, the owner of Zale and Kay Jewelers, announced this morning that Mark Light, who has served as CEO of Signet since 2014, has decided to retire after more than 35 years with the company due to health reasons. Signet’s board of directors has appointed Virginia “Gina” Drosos, who has served as an independent director of the company’s board since 2012, as the company’s new CEO. Drosos has over 29 years of executive leadership experience in the beauty and consumer goods industries, most recently serving as president and CEO of Assurex Health, Signet said in a statement.
RECENT COO RESIGNATION, DISAPPOINTING EARNINGS AND OTHER WOES
Light’s departure follows the recent resignation of Chief Operating Officer Bryan Morgan due to violations of company policy “unrelated to financial matters.”
Additional details regarding Morgan’s resignation have not been reported. In January, Signet announced several senior organizational changes to drive growth, including promoting Morgan to COO from executive vice president, Supply Chain Management and Repair.
In May, Signet, which has been struggling with declining revenue over the past four quarters as demand for its jewelry has weakened, reported first quarter earnings that fell below analysts’ expectations. Light said at the time that Signet had a “very slow start” to the year as headwinds in the overall retail environment were exacerbated by a slowdown in jewelry spending and company-specific challenges.
Additionally, Signet announced plans to outsource its credit portfolio. The company has also said it would step up efforts to restore its reputation following allegations of sexual harassment at its Sterling Jewelers unit and diamond swapping allegations.
In May, Signet said it reached an agreement with the EEOC to resolve claims related to pay and promotion of female retail sales workers.
Signet has said allegations of sexual harassment have no merit, calling them “distorted and inaccurate.”
PEERS IN THE NEWS
Other publicly traded retailers of fine jewelry include Tiffany & Co (TIF), which in May reported quarterly sales that fell below analysts’ forecasts as well as a decline in comparable store sales.
Last week, Tiffany named Alessandro Bogliolo, who spent 16 years at Bulgari SpA and once served as that company’s COO, as its new CEO. Bogliolo is expected to take over as Tiffany’s CEO by October 2, the company said, and he will also join the company’s board.
The company increased the size of its board of directors earlier this year, adding three independent directors and ousted former CEO Frederic Cumenal in February following pressure from activist investor JANA Partners amid declining sales and profits.
Signet (SIG) shares are down roughly 1.9% to $58.764 in Monday’s trading. Shares are down nearly 37% year-to-date.
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