Betsy Burton named president and CEO of Zale

Zale Corp. announced that Betsy Burton has been named president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Burton, who will continue as a member of the Zale’s board of directors, has served as acting CEO since February 2006. The decisions to give Burton the leadership role with the largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America followed a comprehensive search to identify highly qualified candidates for the CEO position.
 
“Betsy has done a superb job running the company since February. Under her leadership, we are moving forward with a customer-centric strategy that leverages our fundamental strengths to regain market share, improve profitability and create value for shareholders,” Richard C. Marcus, Zale chairman said in a statement released Sunday. “Betsy is an experienced executive with an outstanding record of leadership and a deep knowledge of Zale. Along with the strong management team we have put in place in recent months, Zale now has the right leadership to realize our long-term growth potential.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity to continue the work we’ve begun,” Burton said in the statement. “We are already seeing tangible evidence of progress across all brands, and I look forward to building on that momentum through the important holiday season, while laying a foundation for long-term success… We’ve intensified our focus on enhancing the customer experience in our stores and giving our customers what we know they want – knowledgeable and friendly salespeople, a broad assortment of quality product and good value. We are also working hard to identify and implement new ways to improve productivity and profitability. Our strategy is in place, the team is in place, and I look forward to being part of our future success.”
 
Burton, 54, has been a member of the Zale board of directors since 2003. She has formerly served as CEO at Supercuts, PIP Printing, and the Cosmetic Center. Burton is also a member of several public company boards, including Staples, Aeropostale, and Rent-A-Center.

Zale Corp., Dallas, is North America’s largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry, operating more than 2,345 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corp.’s business units include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Zale Direct at www.zales.com, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda.