James Avery Appoints New CEO, First Outside Family

James Avery Artisan Jewelry has appointed a new chief executive officer—the first person outside the founder’s family to head the company.

Chris Avery (pictured), son of the company’s founder and namesake, is retiring as CEO, a role he has held since 2007. He will remain chairman of the company’s board. He first joined the company in 1992.

John McCullough (pictured below), who currently serves as chief operating officer, will take over the CEO role. He joined the company in 2006.

John McCullough
John McCullough is James Avery’s new CEO.

Paul Zipp, who currently serves as chief financial officer, has also taken on the roles of president and chief operating officer.

Karina Dolgin has been promoted to chief product and revenue officer. She previously served as vice president of design, merchandising, visual merchandising, and product development.

Lindsey Avery Tognietti, James Avery’s granddaughter and Chris’ niece, serves as manager of strategic initiatives. She joined the company three years ago.

James Avery currently has 91 stores in five states—with several more openings planned this year—and two airport shops. Its products are also sold at Dillard’s.

It has recently opened a new retail concept, called a Discovery Center and Store, in San Antonio, Houston, and Waco, Texas. The new concept has debuted two new product lines—James Avery handbags and leather goods.

A statement said the company will remain private and will not explore a public offering. It reportedly once spurned an inquiry from Berkshire Hathaway.

The company was founded in 1954 and is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. Founder James Avery died last year at age 96.

This summer, the company launched a charitable giving program, Forging Hope, which supports the military and first responders, the environment, education, arts and culture, and professional development. The company said this is a tribute to its founder, who believed “giving is what it’s all about.”

“Both my mom and dad raised us to think of others, that there will always be others less fortunate than ourselves, either in real basic need or, at times, simply in need of a helping hand,” said Chris Avery in a statement. “They encouraged us to always give however we could.”

(Image courtesy of James Avery Artisan Jewelry)

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