Beasley Out, Raff in at Helzberg

Beryl Raff is replacing Marvin Beasley as chairman and chief executive officer of 270-store Helzberg Diamonds, according to a news release by the chain’s owner, Berkshire Hathaway.

Raff was executive vice president and general merchandise manager of fine jewelry for J.C. Penney Co. Inc. Penney did not return a phone call asking who would replace her.

Raff’s career is a long and varied one. Much of her professional career was at Zale Corp., where she eventually served as CEO from 1999 to 2001. She is perhaps best known for her stint at Penney, where she has worked since 2001, and she is given credit for beefing up its jewelry division.

In 2005, she agreed to become CEO of now-defunct Whitehall Jewelers, but soon afterward decided not to take the job and returned to Penney.

No mention was given in the release why Beasley, who took over Helzberg in 2004 following the death of CEO Jeffrey Comment, resigned, and the company did not return a phone call from JCK. However, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett did mention in a TV interview that his jewelry holdings have “[gotten] killed” during the recession.