Zimmermann No Longer President of Zale N.A.

John Zimmermann, president of Zale North America, “has left the company,” according to a Zale Corp. statement. He is an apparent victim of what the specialty jewelry retail chain calls a “streamlining of its corporate organization.”

“We want to thank John for his many contributions, hard work, and dedication to the company,” said Zale Corp. chief executive officer Betsy Burton in a statement released Monday. “We wish him continued success in his career.”

Among the organizational changes announced by the Dallas-based company, is the promotion of Steve Lang to Group senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, as head of a new centralized merchandising organization. Buying for all of the moderate brands (Zales, Gordon’s, Zales Outlet, and Peoples/Mappins) will be consolidated under Lang. He will report directly to Burton.

Last year Zale said it moved to a centralized sourcing organization which will continue to be led by Gil Hollander, Group senior vice president and chief sourcing officer, also reporting to Burton.

Zale said it has engaged an executive search firm to begin a search for the newly created position of chief operating officer. Beginning with the moderate brands, there will no longer be separate brand presidents& Zale said in its statement. Store operations will report to Burton until the chief operating officer position is filled.

Burton said the changes were a part of a year-long examination of the organizational structure of the company.

“Over the past 12 months we have closely examined all aspects of our operations, looking for opportunities for operational improvement as well as the streamlining of corporate support,” she said. “We believe there are significant synergies and efficiencies to be gained by the elimination of redundancies and more teaming across brands. We are starting with the consolidation of support functions across the moderate brands as an important step in achieving this goal.”

Zale Corp. is a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America operating approximately 2,300 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corporation’s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda. Zale also operates online at www.zales.com, www.gordonsjewelers.com, and www.baileybanksandbiddle.com.