Friedman’s Inc., the third-largest multi-unit jeweler in the U.S., announced major changes in its executive management team on March 1. They’re designed to “enhance [its] ability to execute its growth strategy,” said Friedman’s board of directors.

Bradley J. Stinn was elected chairman and chief executive officer. He formerly was president and CEO. In his new role, Stinn will shift his focus from daily management to “providing the vision, strategic development and leadership required at this stage of the company’s development,” said a board statement.

Robert S. Morris was elected president and chief operating officer, a new post for Friedman’s. Previously executive vice president, he played a key role in developing and executing the firm’s expansion strategy.

Sterling B. Brinkley, who had been chairman, was named chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors.

Friedman’s Inc., based in Savannah, Ga., is the leading operator of fine jewelry stores in power strip centers in the U.S. As of Feb. 29, it had 245 stores in 14 states; 159 are in power strips, 85 in regional malls and one in a power center.


Zale Corporation announced a reorganization to improve business operations. Finance and administration will be headed by Merrill Wertheimer, executive vice president. Reporting directly to Wertheimer will be Tom Whiddon, senior vice president and chief financial officer (financial control, investor relations, treasury, tax, Jewelers Financial Services [JFS] and Zale insurance); Erv Polze, senior vice president, operations (accounting, operations, risk management, distribution, facilities and loss prevention); Paul Kanneman, senior vice president and chief information officer (MIS); and Sue Grove, senior vice president, corporate planning and analysis. Wertheimer also assumes responsibility for the human resources department following the resignation of Herschel Kranitz as senior vice president of human resources. Reporting directly to Wertheimer from this department will be Jackie Werblo, vice president of compensation and benefits; Greg Humenesky, vice president of personnel development and staffing; and Norma Janosko, director of employee relations. Gary Melton was promoted to vice president of JFS; he will report directly to Tom Whiddon.

Sue Lanigan joined Zale Corp.’s legal department as associate general counsel. She will report to Alan Shor, senior vice president and general counsel. As part of the realignment, Jay Lepselter, vice president of real estate, and Rosemary Perlmeter, vice president of property management and development, will also report directly to Shor.


Ann Dumont joined Gottlieb & Sons Inc. as advertising coordinator at the main office in Cleveland, Ohio. She is responsible for design and implementation of all advertising, print media and coordination of services with retailers. Her 11-year background in advertising includes experience as art director and production manager for an ad agency and graphic design firm.

Dennis Foltz, vice president of education for the Gemological Institute of America, was appointed a commissioner to the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Training Council. The seven-member commission is chosen on the basis of outstanding work in the distance education field or in public service. Foltz has served on the board of trustees and numerous DETC accreditation committees. He also testified before Congress on proposed legislation affecting home study schools.

Keith Edwards will replace Ken Martin as sales representative for Pease & Curren Inc. Refiners in Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Edwards formerly was a financial consultant for Merrill Lynch. Martin retired after 30 years with Pease and Curren.

Nili Jewelry Corp. promoted Rod Candelori to vice president sales/national sales manager. He will manage Nili’s national sales force, as well as marketing and sales promotions with independent jewelry stores throughout the U.S.

Gemological Products, a division of Wildman Instruments, named David K. Kragness, GJG, vice president of operations. He oversees manufacturing, distribution and direct sales from the Santa Monica showroom.

Tony Cannilla was named marketing manager for the Mickey & Co. by Jaz Collection from Jaz Time, a division of Seiko Corp. of America. He was previously coordinator of sales and advertising at Lorus, also a division of Seiko. Jaz Time now concentrates on the Mickey & Co. line of licensed watches and has phased out its fashion line.

Jonathan Nettelfield, former vice president of advertising for Seiko, and Hal Wilensky, former executive vice president of Seiko, are co-workers again after joining Artime USA, maker of Sector sport watches. They will work to continue to expand the brand’s exposure and marketing efforts in the U.S.

Jean J. Jacober, former chief operating officer at Patek Philippe in Geneva, was appointed chief executive officer of Groupe Horloger Breguet, whose flagship company makes Breguet watches. Jacober spent more than eight years at Patek Philippe after business appointments at Procter & Gamble and R.J. Reynolds. Breguet is distributed in the United States by UTime Co. Ltd, Rutherford, N.J.

Elizabeth Reinhardt was named vice president for research and communications of The Gold Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association. Alma Paty joined the Institute as director of research. Reinhardt previously was director of media programs for Rowan & Blewitt Inc., an issue and crisis management firm. Paty was director of coal and mineral economics for the National Mining Association.

North American Watch Corp., Lyndhurst, N.J., appointed Holly Russo as director of customer service, responsible for all after-service programs in the U.S. She will oversee the customer service departments at North American’s headquarters and at branch offices in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Coral Gables, Fla. She formerly worked as regional customer service manager for Merck/Medco and as director of customer service for Macy’s East.

William Jahnke was named president of Speidel, a division of Textron Inc., Providence, R.I. He succeeds William Walsh. Jahnke was previously vice president for Textron’s fuel systems unit.

The Gemological Institute of America announced education management appointments at its Santa Monica, Cal., headquarters. Mark Mann will head the jewelry manufacturing arts program. Judy Steinberg-Bricker was named manager of distance education; Wendi Mayerson, manager of resident gemology; and Eddie Desci, manager of extension gemology. Bev Hori-Ankrom will oversee GIA’s corporate and association training.

Jim Farah was appointed president of Robert Lee Morris Inc. He previously was head of product development and marketing for Bally of Switzerland. Farah will take over company operations, leaving Morris free to design full time.

William Doyle Galleries named William G. Foulke, Jr. president and chief operating officer. Mary K. Itsell was appointed director of regional representatives. Foulke spent 27 years in banking, most recently serving as a managing director of Bankers Trust Company. Itsell had been regional director of Christie’s Washington, D.C., regional office.

Howard H. Sweet added David Evans to the sales team serving Southern California and Arizona. Formerly with Armbrust Chain Co., Evan has more than 15 years’ experience in gold chain. He will share responsibility for sales coverage in the western U.S. with Ron Koenigs, who also recently joined Sweet.

M&L Jewelry Manufacturing Inc. named Jack Woolf vice president and general manager. Woolf spent the last 13 years as senior vice president of merchandise with the Barry’s Jewelry Co. chain.

Gordon Bros. Partners, the Boston-based retail repositioning, asset recovery and finance company, announces that Cory Lipoff has joined the company as a vice president. He will work with retailers nationally who are involved in acquisitions, divestitures, restructurings, complex financings and bankruptcies. Before joining Gordon Bros. Partners, Lipoff was a partner in the law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue.


Brian Keith Whatley of Paris, Tex., a horology graduate from the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, a division of Paris Junior College, won the $1,000 Swest Award presented at the school’s mid-year graduation. Presenting the award was Darrell Warren, vice president of the Swest Corporation, a jewelry supply company. The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology recently graduated 25 students in jewelry technology, horology and gemology.

William E. Boyajian, president of the Gemological Institute of America, awarded five people as GIA staff members of the year. Receiving the award were Scott S. Guhin, grading team leader with GIA’s Gem Trade Laboratory in Santa Monica, Cal.; Judi Shechter-Lankford, manager of the GIA bookstore; Halina Kaban, grading team leader with the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory in New York City; Charlotte Williams, local resources adviser in GIA’s student services department; and Tim Wolf, foreman in GIA’s print shop.


Ivan D. Knabb, 88, of Phoenix, Ariz., a retired jeweler, died Jan. 7.

Earl M. Burkons, 76, of Las Vegas, Nev., a retired jeweler, died Jan. 18.

Louis M. (Lommie) Schukar, 64, of St. Louis, Mo., died Dec. 16. He served as president of ABKO Inc., a company founded by his late father-in-law, Abe Kohane, and most recently as president of Louis M. Schukar & Associates and ABKO Watch Co. “Lommie” donated scholarships to the Washington University School of Business and provided bicycles to underprivileged children in St. Louis.

Carolyn Anne (Tillie) Campbell, 41, of Concord, Ga., a gemologist, died Saturday, Jan. 20 in Jonesboro, Ga.

Alice Knowles Volking, 82, of Meridian, Miss., a retired employee from Leaner Jewelers, died Feb. 2.

Drury Wood, 90, owner and operator of Wood Jewelers in Del Rio, Tex., died Feb. 10.

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