The New Zale: Focus On ‘Basics’ Brings Success

A "continuing sense of urgency about running the business" permeates this revitalized jewelry chain from top to bottom A framed poster is prominently displayed in the office of Tom Whiddon, chief financial officer of the Zale Corp. It shows a golf hole in the middle of an island, in the middle of a lake, in the middle of a golf course. The caption reads simply "FOCUS." That word, in a nutshell, defines the transformation of Zale from bankruptcy two-and-a-half years ago into a revitalized company now aggressively reclaiming its influential role in the U.S. jewelry market. Chairman Robert J. DiNicola, 48, calls the new attitude "a continuing sense of urgencyŠabout running the business." And it permeates the new Zale, from top executives at their weekly Monday strategy huddles to staffers at in-store training sessions. To rebuild the firm and resume its leadership role in the indus
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