Prior Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce tells JCK he’s proud of transforming the company into a “multibillion dollar” business that is ripe for going public.
“What we accomplished in 36 months, I don’t think can be paralleled,” Feroce says. “I think the numbers speak for themselves.”
Feroce says that he thinks the Rhode Island jeweler, which sold a minority stake to a private equity firm in 2012, would be a “great candidate for a public company.”
“Whatever monetization route it takes, I just hope it maximizes its value,” he says, noting he is still a shareholder in the business.
Feroce declined to speak about the reasons for his departure, saying he’s still negotiating with the company. In a statement, company founder Carolyn Rafaelian, who is taking over as interim CEO, said she wanted a leader to take it to “the next level.”
Feroce speculates the board “maybe wanted to inject some traditional-type personalities into the mix.”
But he thinks his “unconventional ways,” derived from his background in the military and politics, were crucial to its success.
“You have to have my particular experience and skill set to have pulled off what we pulled off,” he says.
As far as his next move, Feroce says he’s entertaining offers, though he’s not sure if he will stay with jewelry.
“The last few days have seen my phone and email blow up with opportunities,” he says. “The fact is, I was building a brand. I wasn’t selling jewelry. I didn’t build a jewelry company. I built Alex and Ani.”
Feroce’s tenure was not without controversy. In December, the company’s ex–general counsel, Robert Rainville, sued it for breach of contract and wrongful termination, alleging a “hostile work environment,” including sexual harassment and drug use. (The company responded that Rainville had never complained of a hostile work environment, there is no evidence one exists, and that Rainville resigned for personal reasons.)
But Feroce says the suit was not a big factor in his departure.
“When you’re a CEO, you are subject to these frivolous things,” he says. “It’s just another item for people who wanted to make a change to reference.”