Signet’s purchase of Zale will mean a change in title for veteran executive Mark Light as well as several other company execs.
Signet completed the purchase on May 29, after Zale shareholders approved the sale. The purchase was completed some six months ahead of its expected schedule, which forecast the transaction would close by the end of the year. At press time, less than 24 hours after the acquisition, the Zale Corp. website redirected to Signet’s.
Light, longtime president and CEO of Signet’s American division Sterling, will become president and chief operating officer of Signet Jewelers Limited. The managing director of Signet’s U.K. division—Sebastian Hobbs—will now report to Light.
Theo Killion, the former CEO of stand-alone Zale Corp., will remain CEO of the company’s Zale division and has now taken on the additional title of president. The Zale division will include all the bits and pieces of Zale Corp.—Zales, Gordon’s, Piercing Pagoda, and Zale Canada (Peoples and Mappins)—and will operate as a stand-alone business under the Signet umbrella. Killion will report to Signet CEO Michael Barnes.
George Murray will become Signet’s chief integration management officer, in charge of integrating Zale. His current title, according to LinkedIn, is vice president of marketing.
Steve Becker, senior vice president of human resources for Sterling, has been promoted to chief human resource officer for Signet Jewelers Limited. He is now responsibile for human resources in all areas of the business.
A statement also announced the company was searching for a chief marketing and strategy officer as well as a chief information officer.
The new Signet operates 3,600 stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, representing $6.2 billion in annual revenue. Among the U.S. brands it controls: Kay, Jared, Zales, Gordon’s, and kiosk operator Piercing Pagoda.
Signet said that that it expected the purchase to provide the opportunity for $100 million of synergy potential by fiscal year 2018, which it broke down to $50 million of savings due to improved product sourcing and purchasing; $30 million of benefit split between repair services sales and margin growth and incremental margin from brand cross-selling; and $20 million of general cost reduction.
Signet financed the transaction with a two-year asset-backed accounts receivable securitization facility of $600 million; 10-year senior unsecured notes of $400 million; a five-year bank term loan of $400 million; and internal cash.
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