Krementz Out, Lawrence In

During a conference call on Oct. 5, American Gem Trade Association president Rick Krementz told the AGTA board of directors that, for personal reasons, he was offering his resignation. First vice chairman Barbara Lawrence, president of Boston Gems and Findings Inc., assumed the president’s post and will hold it through the remainder of Krementz’s term, which ends in February 2009.

Lawrence said, “AGTA appreciates all of the contributions that Rick has made and the knowledge he has shared with the board throughout his presidency.”

The fact that Krementz had announced his intention to open a facility to test blue topaz irradiation apparently was not connected to his resignation. According to Ed Griffon, AGTA’s chief operating officer, this type of facility would not conflict with the services provided by AGTA’s Gem Testing Center. For several months, members of AGTA who had heard that Krementz was no longer involved in Richard Krementz Gemstones, his father’s business, had expressed concerns to JCK that his position as president might violate AGTA bylaws. According to Griffon, no member challenged his qualifications.

Krementz confirmed to JCK that he will open an irradiation testing laboratory in January, but stressed that this was not a deciding factor in his resignation.

“I’ve had a strong vision to increase AGTA’s presence and make it a $50 million organization,” says Krementz. “There was a strong difference in vision of where AGTA should go. And a leader can’t lead unless there’s strong support. The lab had nothing to do with my leaving.”