Cochran Named MJSA President/CEO

Industry veteran David W. Cochran, has been named president/chief executive officer of the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America. The appointment follows a year-long search that ran concurrently with the development of MJSA’s Strategic Plan, which the association recently released.

“During his 30-plus years in the jewelry industry, David has a proven track record of developing and implementing strategic initiatives, and of ensuring his companies reach their potential,” said Curtis Ley, MJSA’s interim president/CEO, who chaired both the search committee and the strategic review task force. “He’ll provide the leadership the association needs to realize its strategic vision and to help our members overcome the global challenges they face.”

Most recently, Cochran served as president/CEO and director of The Robbins Co. in Attleboro, Mass., a supplier of recognition and incentive awards. Under his leadership, the company restructured its operations and, based on client input, invested in Web-based retail technology and re-merchandised its product offerings, leading to an overall improvement in gross income. In 2007, Cochran coordinated a successful merger between Robbins and The Tharpe Co. to create one of the nation’s largest employee recognition and awards companies.

For the majority of his career (1976 to 1996), Cochran served as president/CEO and owner of R.F. Simmons Co., an Attleboro-based jewelry manufacturer. Recruited by its owner, Amtel Inc., in 1976 after Simmons suffered several years of poor management and financial turmoil, Cochran strengthened the company’s product development, created niche marketing plans, and implemented cost-saving strategies. He purchased the company in 1978, and his initiatives led to a tripling of the company’s revenues as it secured national accounts ranging from Zales and Helzberg Diamonds to Amway, and also developed a private-label business.

In addition, Cochran served as president/CEO of Town & Country Fine Jewelry Group, where he was hired by the board and bondholders to guide the company smoothly through a reorganization and orderly sale of assets, and as a director of Monrovia, California–based Barry’s Jewelers (Samuel’s Jewelers), where he performed the same duties and returned the company to profitability.

Cochran began his career in the jewelry industry as senior product manager with the Speidel division of Textron Inc. in Providence, where he was charged with strengthening the marketing and business model of the company’s Speidel watch brand and jewelry divisions. Prior to this, he served in senior management and marketing capacities with General Foods Corp., Warner Lambert Co., and American Optical Canada.