Zale Makes Sweeping Executive Changes

Zale Corp. promoted Theo Killion to president of the fine jewelry retailer. It was one of several executive changes the company announced Tuesday.

Killion, who has served as executive vice president of Human Resources, Legal and Corporate Strategy since January 2008, will retain those responsibilities in addition to assuming responsibility for the company’s Shared Services department, which provides customer, employee, and store support; and the company’s Loss Prevention department. He will continue to report directly to Neal Goldberg, chief executive officer.

In addition, Zale announced the promotion of Steve Larkin to executive vice president, chief marketing and e-Commerce officer. Since January 2006, Larkin has served as Zale’s senior vice president, e-Commerce. In February of this year, he was promoted to senior vice president, Marketing & e-Commerce, assuming responsibility for the company’s marketing efforts.

“With the appointments announced today, we have strong, proven managers at the head of each of the Company’s functional areas, allowing for increased communication and accountability,” Goldberg said in a statement issued by the company Tuesday announcing the appointments. “Theo is an outstanding manager with tremendous experience and leadership skills. At Zale, he has been instrumental in re-focusing the business to improve execution and enhance our operational effectiveness. In his new role as president, Theo will continue to be crucial in formulating our go-forward strategy.

Goldberg continued, “Separately, Steve has demonstrated his leadership capabilities overseeing the company’s e-commerce business since the beginning of 2006. Over this time, this business has experienced strong, double-digit growth, and this year reached $55 million in annual revenue. Since assuming responsibility for marketing in February, Steve has led our efforts to increase effectiveness of our marketing by diversifying our tactics and more emotionally connecting with our customers. Given the synergies between marketing and e-commerce, Steve is the right fit to unlock these opportunities.”

The Dallas-based jewelry retail chain also named retail industry veteran Mary Kwan, as executive vice president, chief merchandising officer.

Kwan’s responsibilities will include oversight of the merchandising initiatives of all of the company’s brands. She will report directly to Neal Goldberg, chief executive officer.

Kwan, who has more than 25 years of merchandising experience, most recently served as president and chief merchandising officer for Goody’s Family Clothing, which generated revenues of $1.2 billion in 2007. Her responsibilities included managing all aspects of design, merchandising, planning, sourcing and e-commerce activities for the company. Prior to Goody’s, Kwan held senior merchandising positions at Quiksilver Inc., Levi Strauss & Company and Lane Bryant. Kwan is a graduate of the University of San Francisco.

“Mary is a seasoned executive with a solid track record of focusing on the customer and building strong merchandising teams,” Goldberg said. “She will be instrumental in developing more compelling assortments that highlight our good-better-best value proposition and ensuring we are connecting with our core customer. Additionally, her specialty retail background will be key as we strive to be the best in diamonds, identify trends and create fresh, distinctive offerings.”