DiNicola to Retire July 31

Robert J. DiNicola, who twice in the past decade skillfully restored Zale Corp. to financial stability and profitability, will retire as its chairman and chief executive officer at the end of the current fiscal year on July 31, 2002.

No successor to DiNicola was immediately announced. Richard Marcus, speaking on behalf of the Zale board of directors, said, “We will take the next several months to explore succession alternatives” while DiNicola and his management team “continue to focus on the business and bringing a successful close to the fiscal year.”

DiNicola first became chairman and CEO of Zale in 1994, after Zale’s return from bankruptcy reorganization. He built a skilled executive management team, restored Zale Corp. to financial stability (with annual sales topping $1 billion), began expanding the company internally and through acquisitions in the United States and Canada, and returned Zale to its former spot as industry leader. Today, Zale is the largest jewelry retailer in the world.

In 1999, DiNicola relinquished his CEO responsibilities to prepare the company for an orderly leadership transition. One of his final actions then was the acquisition of Piercing Pagoda, the largest chain of gold jewelry mall kiosks—a move that gave Zale a presence in every major segment of the jewelry industry.

He retired in September 2000, and was succeeded by Beryl Raff, formerly Zale Corp. president, as chairman and chief executive officer. But on Feb. 12, Raff resigned, reportedly in disagreement with the board of directors’ intent to change her marketing strategy. DiNicola returned as chairman and CEO in February 2001.

Upon retirement, DiNicola will become a consultant to Zale Corp.