On Sept. 21, Tom Andruskevich, who has led Birks & Mayors for more than 15 years as president and CEO, announced his plans to resign from the company in the spring of 2012, after a successor has been named. The busy executive recently spoke to JCK about the industry and his future plans.
JCK: Where do you see your company going?
Tom Andruskevich: I think our first priority at Birks & Mayors is to make sure that we become a strong, profitable company again. We are obviously interested in continuing to grow and build the Birks product brand and Birks product assortments. Down the road, we envision Birks to be an international company that will grow well outside North America. There is also a big country in the United States, and there are a lot of states we are not in.
JCK: Where do you see the industry right now?
TA: I feel after the last recession there was a layer of consumers who were completely eliminated from the market. Just as there were people who were getting mortgages who shouldn’t have, there were people getting credit who were over-leveraged and spending some of that money on jewelry and other luxury products. Those people don’t have jobs anymore or can’t get credit. As a result, our market has shrunk.
I think we are going through a social revolution with social media and with technology. I think the jewelry industry is lagging behind in this regard. I believe our stores are still much too traditional. Technology has to play a bigger role in the future.
JCK: Why are you stepping down?
TA: Next year, I will be turning 61. This job has a level of intensity that means being available 24/7. In personal terms, I don’t want my life to pass me by. Right now, I can only spend time with my wife and family on weekends. I have an interest in golf and traveling, and I don’t get to do as much of those things as I would like.
JCK: Anything else you want to say to the industry?
TA: My career started by luck. I was in the right place at the right time. It is one of the most special industries I could ever imagine being a part of.