Gemvara CEO Matt Lauzon Steps Down

Matt Lauzon, the Boston entrepreneur who founded jewelry e-tailer Gemvara while in his 20s, has stepped down as CEO.

Current chief operating officer Janet Holian has been promoted to interim CEO. However, the company plans to look for a new chief executive, preferably someone with luxury brand or retail experience, Holian tells JCK.

“We are planning to recruit from outside the company,” she adds.

Lauzon, 27, will still serve as chairman of Gemvara, replacing current chairman Deb Bessemer, who will become a member of the board.

“He will be an active chairman,” Holian says. “But we figured at this point, with $50 million invested, that we find someone with a little more experience.”

Lauzon had previously stepped down as CEO in 2009, but eventually returned to the position. He could not be reached for comment.

Gemvara started life as Paragon Lake. Its original business model involved supplying custom designs through brick-and-mortar retailers. In March 2010, it switched to pure jewelry e-tail. “We really needed to be controlling the experience ourselves,” Lauzon told JCK.

The company received $25 million in funding this June, and recently celebrated a milestone: Its earrings made Oprah’s list of “Favorite Things.”

Lauzon made frequent speeches and appearances at jewelry events—unusual for the head of an e-tailer. While rival Blue Nile has had often hostile relations with the jewelry trade, Lauzon tried to cultivate relations with the rest of the industry. He spoke at this summer’s JCK Las Vegas show on a panel called “The Great E-Commerce Debate.”