Signet Group CEO steps down after four years

Mike-Barnes-Mark-Light-Signet.jpg

Signet Jewelers Limited has announced that its chief executive officer Mike Barnes has resigned after four years with the company.

The announcement follows a year of growth for Signet, with its acquisition of Zale and positive sales figures in recent quarters. Barnes will step down at the end of the month – October 31 – to be succeeded by Signet’s current president and chief operating officer Mark Light.

Light will also join Signet’s board of directors. It is understood the business – the largest speciality jewellery retailer in the US, Canada and UK – will reaffirm its financial guidance initiated in its second quarter earnings release on August 28 2014.

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Signet chairman Todd Stitzer said: "We are delighted to announce Mark’s promotion to chief executive officer of Signet. 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. These valuable attributes have been developed during his long and successful career of over 30 years with Signet, and the board of directors is confident that Mark is the right person to lead the company forward as Signet enhances its position as a leading retailer in the US, UK and Canada."

Commenting on Barnes’ time with Signet and his resignation announcement, Stitzer described him as a leader during a period of outstanding transformation and growth.

Stitzer added: "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 Corporation 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. On behalf of Signet, I thank Mike for his many contributions to Signet and wish him well in his future endeavours."

Barnes said: "It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to lead the outstanding Signet team through a period of significant transformation. Over these several years, I’ve worked closely with Mark, collaborating with him on all of Signet’s strategic initiatives, including the Zale acquisition and ongoing integration. I have every confidence in Mark and wish him success in his new role."

Light added that he is extremely pleased with the progress Signet has made integrating Zale into the business. He said he is confident that Signet will reach is three-year synergy expectations of $150 million to $175 million.

"I’m honoured to take the helm of this enterprise to move Signet forward as a leader in the retail jewellery industry, bringing ever greater innovation in products, store concepts, customer service and marketing as we continue to grow our market share," Light said. "Our strategic planning, operational excellence, and superior collaboration executed by our industry-leading teams, will continue to drive our success into the future."

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