Zale names Mary Forte new CEO

Zale Corp., Dallas, the nation’s biggest jewelry retailer, said on Monday that it has named Mary Forte as its new chief executive to replace Robert DiNicola, who will retire from the post on July 31, Reuters reported.

Forte was most recently Zale’s executive vice president and chief merchandise officer, a post she held since February 2001. DiNicola will remain chairman of the board in a non-executive role, the company said in a statement.

Forte’s appointment follows the retirement of DiNicola, who had also previously retired from Zale in August 2000.

He returned to the company at the request of its board of directors in early 2001, after a difficult year in 2000, which saw a sharp drop in sales amid a weakening economy.

He then announced his intention to retire again in early March, a move that analysts said was unexpected and led to a drop in Zale’s share price.

Forte first joined Zale in 1994 as president of Gordon’s Jewelers, which sells high-end, contemporary and regional items. Prior to joining Zale, she worked at television home shopping company QVC and Federated Department Stores.