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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tiffany CEO Frederic Cumenal ‘Steps Down’ Amid Financial Disappointment

Frederic Cumenal

In a Super Bowl Sunday shocker Tiffany & Co. said that Frederic Cumenal has “stepped down” as its chief executive officer, effective immediately. Michael J. Kowalski, chairman of Tiffany’s board of directors and previous CEO, will serve as interim CEO while the company works with an executive search firm to finds a successor. In a statement, the company said the decision was based on disappointing financial results.

“The board is committed to our current core business strategies, but has been disappointed by recent financial results,” Kowalski said in a statement. “The board believes that accelerating execution of those strategies is necessary to compete more effectively in today’s global luxury market and improve performance.”

The announcement came just hours before the luxury jewelry retailer plans to unveil Lady Gaga as the face of its new fashion jewelry collection, Tiffany HardWear, with its first ever Super Bowl commercial prior to her halftime performance. The company also creates the Vince Lombardi Trophy, presented to the Super Bowl champion, as well as the Pete Rozelle Trophy, presented to the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl.

Even taking into consideration that most news and financial staffs will have skeleton crews working and the nation will be focused on the game rather than personnel moves, the timing of the announcement during such an important time for the company seems surprising. 

Mark L. Aaron, Tiffany's VP-Investor Relations, said on Sunday that the timing was coincidental. “That’s just the way it happened,” he said. “Analysts, investors and media work 24-7 and it still gives people a chance to watch the Super Bowl.”

Michael J. Kowalski

Cumenal replaced Kowalski as Tiffany’s CEO April 1, 2015. He previously served as president of the company with responsibilities for worldwide sales and distribution as well as design, merchandising and marketing functions. He initially joined Tiffany in March 2011 as an executive vice president with responsibilities for sales and distribution.

“On behalf of the entire board of directors, I would like to thank Frederic Cumenal for his contributions to Tiffany,” Kowalski said. “At a time of continuing challenges in the global luxury market, Frederic has enhanced the management team and taken important steps to position Tiffany for success in the long term. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Cumenal said in the statement, “I am proud of what we have accomplished at Tiffany and would like to thank the management team and our many talented employees around the world with whom I have had the pleasure to work. I have great confidence in Tiffany's brand, strategic direction and people, and I believe the company will have many exciting opportunities in the future.” 

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