Most of Zale Leadership Resigns in Signet Shake-Up

Hrabak Takes Over Sterling; Signet CFO Departs

Zale president and CEO Theo Killion and most of his top team are leaving the company, in a dramatic Signet corporate reshuffle that includes bump-ups for longtime execs Mark Light, Ed Hrabak, and George Murray, and the resignation of Signet’s chief financial officer.

George Murray, the former Sterling marketing VP who has held the title of chief integration management officer since May, will replace Killion as president of the Zale division, which includes the assets of the former Zale Corp.: Zales, Gordon’s, Piercing Pagoda, and Zale Canada.

Zale will continue as a separate division, the company says, with Murray relocating to Zale’s Texas headquarters. “There are no plans whatsoever to close the Dallas office,” adds Signet spokesman David Bouffard.

Murray will report to Mark Light, who in May was appointed president and chief operating officer of Signet. Light now oversees the Zale division as well as the Sterling and U.K. divisions, in a switch from the plan announced just one month ago.

Ed Hrabak has been promoted to president of Sterling Jewelers, which consists of Kay, Jared, and regional chains. Hrabak formerly held the title of chief operating officer and executive vice president of the U.S. division. He will report to Light, who in turn reports to Signet CEO Michael Barnes.

In addition, Signet chief financial officer Ronald Ristau, one of the architects of the Zale acquisition, is resigning to relocate closer to his family, the company said. He will be replaced by Michele Santana, currently Signet’s senior vice president and controller.

Zale, meanwhile, will look quite different from here on out. Among the execs leaving the company: chief administrative officer Matt Appel; chief marketing officer Richard Lennox; chief merchandising and sourcing officer Gil Hollander; senior vice president, real estate, Richard Golden; and senior vice president and chief stores officer Becky Mick. Signet intends to find replacements for Hollander and Mick, it said. 

Thomas Haubenstricker, current Zale chief financial officer, will continue with the company, taking on the role of Zale division chief financial officer. He will now also oversee supply chain management, information technology, and real estate. In addition, Jamie Singleton, senior vice president & general manager, Piercing Pagoda; Ken Brumfield, senior vice president, financial products; Jeannie Barsam, senior vice president, merchandising and planning analysis; John Legg, senior vice president, supply chain; and Brad Furry, senior vice president and Zale chief information officer, are all remaining in their current roles.

The resignation of Killion and most of his fellow C-level execs was something as a surprise. Following the acquisition, Killion, longtime CEO of Zale, was given the additional title of president, and Signet execs had repeatedly expressed confidence in Zale management.

In a statement, Signet said: “We are saddened by Theo’s decision. However, we respect his desire to spend more time with his family and to pursue other professional interests beyond Zale and Signet.”

The changeover means that all three of Signet’s divisions—Sterling, Zale, and the U.K. division—now have relatively new leadership. Sebastian Hobbs was appointed head of the U.K. division last year. 

Sterling also announced the following organizational changes: Jeff Dine has been promoted to vice president, distribution center; Valerie Perkins has been appointed to vice president, purchasing; and Kristine Swansiger has been promoted to vice president, capital procurement and sourcing. 

Dine most recently served as senior director, support services; Perkins served as director, purchasing; and Swansiger served as director, capital procurement and sourcing.

 

 

JCK News Director