Exec Moves at Tiffany & Co., Sears Canada and Chico’s

Tiffany & Co. elevated James Fernandez to the new position of chief operating officer Thursday.

Tiffany & Co. elevated James Fernandez to the new position of chief operating officer Thursday, a day that saw executive appointments take place at a number of retail organizations.

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Fernandez, who retains the title of executive vice president, has been Tiffany’s chief financial officer for 12 years. Patrick McGuiness, senior vice president of finance since 2007, was named to succeed him as cfo and retains the post of senior vice president. McGuiness will continue to report to Fernandez, who continues to report to Michael Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York-based luxe jeweler.

“These two executives have both developed first-class finance and operations functions, and I consider this to be a natural progression consistent with the company’s continuing organizational development,” Kowalski said.

In other appointments Thursday, Calvin McDonald was named president and ceo of Sears Canada Inc., succeeding Dene Rogers, who’d held the post for five years, and Pamela Knous joined Chico’s FAS Inc. as evp, cfo and chief accounting officer, reporting to David Dyer, president and ceo of the Fort Myers, Fla.-based specialty retailer.

McDonald was most recently evp of the conventional division of Loblaw Cos. Ltd., a major Canadian supermarket operator. William Crowley, chairman of Toronto-based Sears Canada, said the transition in management at Sears follows Rogers’ stated objective of returning to the U.S. once the firm “weathered the recession and hired a management team that could take the business forward.”

At Chico’s, Knous takes over duties previously handled by Kent Kleeberger, who became the company’s evp and chief operating officer in March. She reports to David Dyer, president and ceo of the firm.

She had previously held the title of evp and cfo at Supervalu Inc. and, prior to that, The Vons Cos. Inc., now part of Safeway Inc.

Knous’ appointment coincided with Chico’s annual meeting, at which shareholders were advised that sales in the second quarter were up in the midteens and consolidated comparable sales up in the low double digits. This prompted Margaret Whitfield, retail analyst at Sterne Agee, to raise her second-quarter earnings estimate for the specialty retailer to 25 cents a share from 23 cents and helped lift the firm’s shares 66 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $15.26.

Overall, retail stocks rose 1.4 percent, outperforming the broader market. The S&P Retail Index ended the day at 520.57, up 7.11 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average, down more than 200 points earlier in the day on higher-than-expected unemployment claims and dropping oil futures prices, came back to close at 12,050.00, down 59.67 points, or 0.5 percent.