Giovanni Feroce, the flamboyant former army major and state senator who oversaw Alex and Ani’s notable recent growth spurt, is leaving the company.
Founder and creative director Carolyn Rafaelian has been appointed interim CEO, and will head the company while the board searches for a replacement. That search is expected to take a few months.
Feroce declined comment but said he would speak at a later time. He did give an interview to The Providence Journal, in which he said his reason for leaving is “up in the air.”
But in a statement, Rafaelian indicated the company wanted a chief executive to take the company to “the next level.”
“It is imperative we bring on board a new CEO who has experience leading a fast growing company to the next level and who can provide the strategic direction and vision that will serve us well into the future,” she said.
According to Inc. magazine, the company is considering going public this year.
Rafaelian is “declining interviews,” says the company’s spokesman, Gregg Perry.
Rafaelian founded Alex and Ani in 2004, naming the business after her two eldest daughters. Feroce, who formerly headed an eyewear company and whose diverse resume includes two years as America’s youngest state senator, came on board in 2011. The spiritually oriented designer and combat veteran were an unlikely pair, and when Feroce took over, many of the original employees left, Inc. says. But under Feroce’s tutelage, Alex and Ani expanded significantly. It sold a minority stake to a private equity firm in 2012, and it’s engaged in high-profile promotional events, like running Super Bowl ads.
Feroce had big plans for Alex and Ani, telling Inc. that he was “building a department store,” possibly expanding the name into lines for dinnerware, chairs, even cars.
But now, he told The Journal, he wants to “take a deep breath.”
“I am still a significant shareholder in the company, and I wish it success,” he said.