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NEW YORK — Change appears to be coming to Tiffany & Co.
Following the appointment of Francesca Amfitheatrof to the role of design director earlier this month, the New York-based jeweler has promoted Frederic Cumenal to president.
Cumenal, who previously held the reins as executive vice president, was also given a newly created seat on Tiffany’s board, which now stands at 10.
While a new hire and a promotion do not equate to a full-scale shake-up, it does suggest that change is in the air at the 176-year-old jeweler. The two executive changes follow increasingly robust financial results and new product expansion meant to open the upscale jeweler to a more value-conscious consumer.
Most recently, Tiffany reported a better-than-expected 16.3 percent rise in second-quarter income to $106.8 million, or 83 cents a diluted share. Sales for the period ended July 31 expanded 4.4 percent to $925.9 million. While the firm cited strength in China, it underscored a need for improved fashion jewelry. To date, Tiffany has struggled to capture the imagination of this, if not younger, then more trend- and cost-conscious clientele.
That’s where Amfitheatrof comes in.
The trained silversmith, who has worked with Fendi, Marni and Chanel, is expected to bring her modern yet clean aesthetic to the somewhat conservative Tiffany, injecting its classic collections such as Atlas with fresh energy.
According to Topeka Capital Markets retail analyst Dorothy Lakner, Amfitheatrof’s appointment is meant to “begin the revival of fashion jewelry” for the brand, which has attempted to jolt that category with the recent development of Rubedo, a lower-cost, copper-centric alloy.
Lakner added that aside from Amfitheatrof herself, Anthony Ledru, the recently appointed senior vice president of North America, could “help reinvigorate North American sales.” The analyst noted that both are part of an influential “influx of international luxury goods executives” brought on by Tiffany in recent years.
Central to that group of recent hires was Cumenal, who joined the upscale jeweler as executive vice president overseeing Asia-Pacific, Japan, Europe and the emerging markets region two years earlier.
In his new role, the 54-year-old, who is a former president and chief executive officer of the Moët & Chandon unit of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will continue to report to chairman and ceo Michael Kowalski.
The firm noted that Cumenal would retain his regional responsibilities and assume new responsibility for the design, merchandising and marketing functions. In essence, the exec will oversee the work of Amfitheatrof, who will report to executive vice president Jon King. According to Tiffany, King, who manages design for the firm, will report directly to Cumenal.
While Tiffany’s Kowalski declined to comment on the significance of Cumenal’s appointment Tuesday, the ceo said in a statement: “Since joining Tiffany in March 2011, from the LVMH Group where he was president and chief executive officer of Moët & Chandon SA, Frederic has made important contributions to the operational and strategic development of our business.”
Kowalski added that Cumenal “has brought a global luxury perspective to our brand management initiatives and, in particular, has led the evolution of our regional organizations to support our continued worldwide expansion.”
At the end of trading Tuesday, shares of Tiffany rose 0.8 percent to $79.12.