Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany & Co.’s chairman and chief executive officer, has been taking advantage of the luxe jeweler’s stock rebound and pulled in $22.2 million this year, before taxes, by exercising options and then selling the shares.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The 640,000-share stake was sold off in seven pairs of transactions since Feb. 1. On Monday, for instance, the ceo exercised his option to buy 115,000 shares for $31.49 each and then sold the same number of shares for $75.88 apiece, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kowalski, 59, directly owns 244,045 shares of Tiffany and indirectly owns another 100,000 shares held in a trust. He also has 337,750 additional vested stock options.

Company rules oblige the ceo to hold stock valued at five times his base salary, which last year tallied $958,957 — making for a $4.8 million threshold that Kowalski easily tops.

“When you look at where the stock was two or three years ago and how far it’s increased, it shouldn’t be too surprising that some people would decide to take advantage of that,” said Mark Aaron, vice president of investor relations.

Shares of Tiffany fell 0.2 percent to $77.74 Wednesday, but are up more than 200 percent over the past two years, when the retail sector gained about 62 percent.

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