Jeff Roberts is new head of IJO

Jeff Roberts, president and chief executive officer of the Independent Jewelers Organization since 1996, has taken over as its owner, effective June 1. Former owner/chairman Richard Swetz retired, after almost 20 years at the helm of the organization.

Roberts, the son of IJO founder Bill Roberts and a Graduate Gemologist, has been active in IJO for more than 30 years. He has worked in every phase of it, including recruiting new members and running the buying group.

“Richard and I have been working on putting this plan into place for more than three years so that the transition would be seamless,” Roberts said. “Over the last 10 years, IJO members have dramatically increased their sales by working smarter, and I have no intention of making any changes in that regard. However, as forward-thinking as IJO has been, there definitely will be changes, and all for the betterment of the membership. I look forward to the challenge of coming up with new ideas to help our members compete in a challenging marketplace.”

The Independent Jewelers Organization is located in Norwalk, Conn., and has 850 retail members worldwide and 180 supplier/manufacturer members.