The Company of Master Jewellers will formally appoint Michael Aldridge as its new chairman at its August AGM after Stephen Hughes stepped down after 12 years in the role.
The CMJ is a buying group that supports independent jewellers through peer-to-peer intelligence sharing.
Mr Hughes has been a CMJ board director since 2003 and has served as chairman of the board since 2005.
“The plan for me to step down has been on the horizon for some time. A new strong board of directors is now in place with a remit to develop a new strategy for CMJ and with this in mind, it seemed like an opportune time for me to step down and allow a new chairman to drive forward new strategies for the group,” said Mr Hughes. “Stepping down now allows the new chairman to take control of the business with sufficient time to prepare for the next CMJ AGM in August.”
Resigning from the chairmanship will also allow Mr Hughes to focus more on his own business, Stephen Hughes Fine Diamonds in Swansea.
Mr Aldridge will chair the CMJ while continuing to run his own shop, Neil & Barker in Widnes.
CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton, who in partnership with Mr Hughes has transformed the organisation from a sleepy talking shop for shire jewellers into a collective of 160 retail businesses running over 400 stores, said: “After so many years of loyal service, the board would like to thank Stephen for his dedication as CMJ’s longest serving chairman. Stephen has worked tirelessly to make CMJ what it is today. He has been the CMJ’s senior statesman for well over a decade and CMJ would not be what it is today without his leadership, drive and vision for developing the business.”
At the CMJ’s 2016 AGM, the group reported sales through the organisation rising to over £166.6m and gross profit up by 6.6% to £2.44m.