Management changes atop Signet Jewelers

Akron Beacon Journal (OH) |

July 01--Signet Jewelers Ltd., parent of Sterling Jewelers of Akron, revealed major changes in upper management Tuesday, including the resignation of Theo Killion as head of the recently acquired Zale jewelers.

Signet purchased rival jewelry retailer Zale Corp. in May, and at that time Killion, who had been president of Zale, was named to lead the new Texas-headquartered Zale division of Signet.

Killion had led a turnaround at Zale, which had been in financial straits until reporting in 2013 its first annual profit in five years.

In May, Zale shareholders approved Signet (NYSE: SIG) paying $21 a share for Zale Corp., or about $690 million. The deal is valued at $1.46 billion, including assumed debt.

Zale remains headquartered in Irving, Texas, and is operating as a division of Signet, akin to the Sterling Jewelers division in Akron.

Sterling is the largest operator of jewelry stores in the United States with more than 1,400 locations, mostly Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry.

Signet is based in Bermuda, but many of its executives work from offices at the Akron Sterling building on Ghent Road, across from Summit Mall.

Signet said Tuesday that George Murray, Signet's current chief integration management officer, has been promoted to president of the Zale division and will succeed Killion on July 31.

Also Tuesday, Signet said Ronald Ristau is resigning from his position as chief financial officer, also effective July 31. Michele Santana, currently Signet's senior vice president and controller, has been promoted to chief financial officer designate, effective immediately and will take over for Ristau.

Signet also said Tuesday that Ed Hrabak has been promoted to president of Sterling in Akron. He will report to Mark Light, who is based in Akron and is Signet's president and chief operating officer.

Also now reporting to Light are Murray and Sebastian Hobbs, who is managing director of Signet's division that operates jewelry stores in the United Kingdom.

The UK division operates about 500 stores; the Zale division operates more than 1,600 locations in the United States and Canada.

Light, a longtime executive at Sterling in Akron, was promoted to his current leadership posts at Signet in May in conjunction with the completion of the Zale acquisition. He reports to Signet CEO Michael Barnes.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.

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