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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From Adversary to Partner, Terry Burman Named Chairman of Zale Corp.

Terry Burman
Zale Corp.on Wednesday made a surprise announcement that Terry Burman was named board chairman of the Dallas-based jeweler, whose retail brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet and Gordon's Jewelers. Burman was the highly successful chief executive officer of Signet Jewelers Ltd. from 2000 till 2011, Zale Corp.’s main rival.

Burman replaces John B. Lowe, Jr., who has served as chairman for the past five years. Lowe will remain on the board, the company said. The announcement overshadowed its third quarter earnings report.

Burman, a 30-year veteran of the jewelry industry, joined Signet in 1995 as the chairman and CEO of Sterling Jewelers, Inc., the U.S. division of Signet and Zale Corp.’s main rival. Sterling is the largest specialty retail jeweler in the United States with more than 1,300 stores located in 50 states, including national chains Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. Signet also is the largest retail jeweler in the United Kingdom.

Under Burman’s leadership Sterling and then Signet experienced robust growth during the high-growth economy of the 1990s and the early 2000s and even through the economic recession and sluggish economy since 2008. Meanwhile, Zale Corp., suffered during the economic downturn under several leadership and ownership changes closing more than 100 underperforming stores.

Before joining Signet, Burman held executive positions, including president and CEO of Barry’s Jewelers, Inc., which now does business as Samuels Jewelers. He serves on the boards of Yankee Candle Company, Inc. and Tuesday Morning Corp. He also serves on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Board of Governors. He has received numerous jewelry industry awards, including the American Gem Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and is the former chairman of Jewelers of America.

“Terry’s track record and industry knowledge make him uniquely qualified to contribute to Zale as we execute our plans for long term growth and shareholder value,” said Theo Killion, Zale Corp. CEO.

“I am delighted to assume the role of chairman of the board at Zale at such an important point in their turnaround program,” Burman said. “I am looking forward to working with Zale’s management and board to refine the company’s strategy and priorities to drive profitable growth and create shareholder value.”

Zale Corp. is a leading specialty retailer of diamond and other jewelry products in North America, operating approximately 1,710 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corp.'s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda. Zale also operates online at,,, and 

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