To reverse its declining fortunes, Signet Jewelers has turned to board member Virginia “Gina” Drosos. She is replacing embattled mainstay Mark Light as company head.
Drosos (pictured) is Signet’s first female CEO and its third CEO since longtime head Terry Burman left in 2011.
Drosos has a wide-ranging background, including holding a position on Signet’s board since 2012. She most recently served as president and CEO of Assurex Health, where in 2016 she oversaw the sale of the biotech firm. Before that, she served as president of global beauty care for Procter & Gamble, where she led a $6 billion business that included more than 20 brands.
Light was with the company for nearly 35 years. A statement said he is stepping down for health reasons, which the company calls “serious, but not life-threatening.” Those health issues apparently stopped Light from attending this year’s JCK Las Vegas show. Light’s three-and-a-half-year tenure as CEO proved surprisingly turbulent, marked by controversies over credit, stone switching, and sexual harassment. In the latest quarter, Signet’s comp sales fell 11.5 percent.
Light is one of a number of Signet company veterans who have stepped down in the last year. Chief operating officer Ed Hrabak and chief merchandising officer Stuart Lee have also left. Hrabak’s replacement, Bryan Morgan, resigned in June due to unspecified “violations of company policy.”
George Murray, Signet’s chief retail insights and strategy officer, is considered the only old-timer left in Signet’s C-suite.
Drosos’ elevation has been seen as a reflection of the increasing role the company’s board has been playing in Signet’s day-to-day operations, a change that some detractors perceive as the directors “managing from the boardroom.”
In March, company chairman Todd Stitzer appeared on the Signet conference call to tell analysts: “The board and I have become much more actively involved with the business and will continue this enhanced level of involvement.”
Jewelry from top: a Signet diamond solitaire surrounded by stacking bands; fashion rings from the Layerings collection; diamond stacking bands