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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Signet Jewelers CEO Mike Barnes Resigns; Replaced by Mark Light

Mike Barnes

Signet Jewelers Ltd. said Tuesday that Michael Barnes will resign from his position as chief executive officer and from Signet's board of directors, effective October 31, in order to be closer to his family in Dallas.

Mark Light, Signet's president and chief operating officer, has been named to succeed Barnes as CEO and take a seat on the board.

Signet said it is also reaffirming its financial guidance initiated in its second quarter earnings release on August 28.

Barnes joined Signet in December 2010 and became its CEO in January 2011, replacing Terry Burman, the company’s longtime CEO. Most recently he oversaw the $1.46 billion acquisition of Dallas-based Zale Corp., its largest US competitor, in May, making Signet the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US, UK and Canada with approximately 3,500 retail outlets.

“Mike has been the leader of the Signet executive management team during a period of outstanding transformation and growth,” said Todd Stitzer, Signet chairman. “Since he joined Signet in 2010, Mike has been an instrumental part of Signet's success. He has played a critical role in Signet's recent acquisition of Zale Corp. and its continuing integration. He has also led the development of Signet's Vision 2020 Initiative for the future. We understand and respect his personal desire to relocate nearer to his family and pursue opportunities closer to his home in Dallas at this time.”

Signet is based in Bermuda and is listed on the NYSE. Its US subsidiary, Sterling Jewelers, with more than 1,400 stores in 50 states, is headquartered in Akron, Ohio. The company, in an SEC filing Tuesday, said it will pay Barnes accrued but unpaid benefits or obligations, his base salary for 12 additional months and an annual bonus at the end of the fiscal year.


Light has been with Signet for more than 30 years, with primary responsibility for the Sterling division, by far Sterling’s largest division, until the Zale Corp. acquisition.

“We are delighted to announce Mark’s promotion to chief executive officer of Signet,” Stitzer said. “Mark is an experienced, strategic leader who has been deeply involved in the company's Vision 2020 Strategy, the Zale acquisition and its ongoing integration. In addition he has a meticulous approach to operational details, and has been the main architect of our Sterling division's consistently profitable growth and has played a key role in defining and executing Signet's growth strategy. He has also been an advisor to our UK Managing Director since 2013 and became formally responsible for that business in mid-2014.”

Signet's Sterling division operates primarily under the brands of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry. Signet's UK division operates approximately 500 stores primarily under the name brands of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones. Signet's Zale division operates more than 1,600 locations in the US and Canada primarily under the name brands of Zales, People's, and Piercing Pagoda. The company also has online operations at www.kay.com, www.jared.com, www.hsamuel.co.uk, www.ernestjones.co.uk, www.zales.com, and www.peoplesjewellers.com.

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