The Colibri Group Gets New Chief Executive Officer

There has been a major management change at The Colibri Group.

Thomas Bendheim has been appointed Colibri’s president and chief executive officer. Frederick N. Levinger, who built the company into one of the most successful and best-known U.S. suppliers to independent and chain jewelers, remains as nonexecutive chairman.

Colibri employees and suppliers were informed of the change in a short memo from Levinger in which he said that “all executive positions that reported to me will now report to [Bendheim].”

No explanation was given for the change either in the memo or the official announcement.

The Colibri Group earlier this year was bought by a group composed of three major investment firms and Levinger. The largest investment firm is from China.

Bendheim was most recently president and CEO of Rheingold Brewing, the beer company, a position he held since 2002. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Dooney & Bourke, where he was instrumental in the revival of that brand.

Levinger and his father bought Colibri in 1971. In recent years it made some strategic acquisitions, including Krementz (1997), Seth Thomas clocks (2001), and Princess Pride lockets (2004).

“Our philosophy is not only to sell jewelry but also concepts and brands,” Levinger told JCK last year. “That was unusual [in the jewelry business] years ago.”