AGS Executive Director Bridel resigns

An American Gem Society spokesperson confirmed Friday that Robert Bridel, executive director of the American Gem Society, has resigned effective immediately for personal reasons due to family obligations.

In an AGS release soon following the spokesperson confirmation, the organization said that Ruth Batson controller and CFO will assume Bridel’s duties while the AGS Board of Directors searches for a permanent replacement.

“It is with great regret that I resign my position as Executive Director & CEO of the American Gem Society,” Bridel said in a statement to the AGS Board of Directors. “It is necessary for me to devote more time with my family and my current schedule prevents me from doing so. I am proud to have served the AGS and of the tremendous accomplishments of our Board and Staff.”

“The Board thanks Robert Bridel for his many years of service and leadership of the AGS,” Bill Farmer, Jr., president of AGS, said in a statement. “The membership of the AGS includes numerous family businesses, and we understand the importance of these most valuable relationships and support him in his endeavors.”

Bridel’s and Farmer’s statements were included in the AGS release.

Bridel served as AGS executive director for four years. Prior to his AGS position, he was president and CEO of the former Barry’s Jewelers chain in California. He is credited by some for leading a revitalization of AGS as an effective industry organization.

One of Bridel’s recent accomplishments was the completion of a $4 million expansion of the AGS campus headquarters and laboratory, which was formerly opened in June 2001. The new facilities tripled the size of the AGS campus by adding 5,200 square feet (for new office space, classrooms, a gem instrument exhibit, and a reference library) to its center of operations, the Robert M. Shipley Building. And a 9,300-square-foot building for AGS Laboratories.