The More Things Change

The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas saw the return of many retailers with money to invest in new products. It also heard the lament of a few exhibitors who didn't do satisfactory business during the show. But the next biggest buzz concerned the abrupt change in leadership at the American Gem Society. Robert Bridel, executive director of the AGS, suddenly resigned one week before the show opened. What made his departure even more surprising was that it occurred the very week that the centerpiece of Bridel's work during the past three years—AGS's new facility housing a lab, classrooms, and offices—was to be formally opened. Bridel's departure was positioned by the organization with the classic corporate phrasing that Robert wanted to spend more time with his family. However, the abrupt nature of the departure, its timing, and its official rationale suggest that his departure was anything but

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