A nearly two-year search for a successor to Terry Burman as chief executive officer of Signet Jewelers Ltd. came to a successful conclusion Wednesday with the appointment of Michael Barnes, currently president and chief operating officer of watch and accessories marketer Fossil Inc.
Barnes, who joined Fossil in 1985, will move to Bermuda-based Signet on Dec. 1 as ceo designate and will be based in Akron, Ohio. After 10 years at Signet’s helm, Burman will retire on Jan. 29, as planned, and will be succeeded by Barnes the following day.
According to Signet, the search for Burman’s successor began in November 2008.
“Mike is a seasoned and accomplished manager who, with his strategic and attentive outlook to operational details, brings valuable experience to Signet,” said Sir Malcolm Williamson, chairman of Signet, calling Barnes “an able successor” to Burman and his “strong legacy.”
Barnes said, “Signet has established itself as a leading retailer in both the U.S. and the U.K., with significant competitive advantages. It has a great culture of excellence in execution and continuous improvement, and has had considerable success in developing differentiated merchandise ranges.”
A Fossil spokeswoman told WWD on Wednesday that the firm would not seek a new chief operating officer, but would assign Barnes’ responsibilities to its existing executive team.
At Signet, sales declined 1.6 percent to $3.29 billion for the year ended Jan. 31, versus $3.34 billion a year earlier. The firm’s net income reached $164.1 million, or $1.91 a share, versus a loss of $393.7 million, or $4.62 a share in fiscal 2008. Signet operates jewelry chains Kay and Jared in the U.S. and H. Samuel in the U.K., among other brands.
In 2000, Burman’s first year as ceo of Signet, sales grew 28.7 percent to $1.48 billion. During his tenure, the company’s store base has expanded to about 1,900 stores from about 1,600.
In the year ended Jan. 2, Fossil’s revenue slipped 2.2 percent to $1.55 billion from $1.58 billion a year earlier. The firm’s net income increased 0.8 percent to $139.2 million, or $2.07 a share, compared with income of $138.1 million, or $2.02, last year.
Following the announcement Wednesday, shares of Signet advanced 62 cents, or 2 percent, to $32.22 in New York Stock Exchange trading. The S&P Retail Index was off 0.5 percent for the day, to 459.64.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast