By  on April 28, 2008

Two high-profile jewelry companies are doing the executive shuffle.

John Hardy has appointed Estée Lauder executive Mindy Grimes as president of John Hardy U.S. Terri Eagle, who until recently was president and chief executive officer of John Hardy USA, has been named president and ceo of Garrard and Stephen Webster, which are both owned by a newly formed holding company related to Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos.

John Hardy, a native of Canada who founded the Bali, Indonesia-based jewelry company 19 years ago, surprised the industry when he left the firm last July, selling his stake to then-company president Damien Dernoncourt, creative director Guy Bedarida and private equity group 3i. Eagle stepped down from Hardy in January.

Grimes begins next month and will report to Hardy ceo Dernoncourt, who is based in Hong Kong. Grimes was most recently senior vice president and national sales manager for the Estée Lauder Cos., leading the La Mer and Jo Malone brands.

"We want to grow the business. We're very ambitious about the business," said Dernoncourt, who noted that Grimes has the three criteria he insisted upon in a president of the U.S. market, the company's largest. "She is a sell-through fanatic, an experienced leader and is a good cultural fit with our company."

The company produces all of its jewelry, including silver, gold and the higher-priced, gem-drenched Cinta collection, on a compound in Bali. Unlike many fine jewelers, Hardy does not have freestanding stores, but is sold at 550 points of sale around the world, including major retail accounts such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Last June, Yucaipa Cos. acquired a stake in British jeweler Stephen Webster with the aim of growing its retail network and expanding product lines. Burkle, a billionaire supermarket magnate who is the founder and managing partner of Yucaipa, also owns British fine jeweler Garrard. Yucaipa has set up an unnamed holding company for Garrard Holdings Ltd. and Stephen Webster Ltd. Eagle will report to the holding company board.

Eagle, who begins her new role today, was president and ceo of John Hardy USA from 2005. She was at David Yurman from 1998 to 2005, leaving as chief operating officer of the jewelry brand. The position at Webster is a newly created one for Eagle, who will be based in New York.Singer Christina Aguilera and her husband, Jordan Bratman, who are friends of Stephen Webster, are also said to have a stake in the firm. Aguilera is featured in the company's new ad campaign for its silver line that bowed this spring.

Garrard has wholly owned boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, London and Tokyo. There are franchised boutiques in Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow and Istanbul.

Stephen Webster Ltd. was established in 1988 and has stores in London, Seoul, Moscow, Kiev and St. Petersburg, along with 50 points of sale in the U.S., Dubai, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

Eagle plans to grow the global business of both brands by exploring new markets, opening more Webster stores and improving merchandising and presentation.

"I plan to bring my discipline to both businesses," Eagle said.

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