FOUNDERS TO LEAVE CALLANEN
NEW YORK — Mickey Callanen and Bud Polley, who started the Callanen Watch Co. in 1984, are leaving the firm.
Callanen, 60, will retire from his post of president and chief executive officer of Callanen International, the parent operation, effective Jan. 1.
Polley, 50, will leave the company as president of Callanen USA, the domestic arm of the firm, after a transition period, up to nine months after Callanen leaves, Callanen said Monday.
Callanen said he had not determined his future plans. Polley could not be reached for comment.
The firm was sold to Timex Corp. in 1991, where it has continued to operate as a separate subsidiary.
Cindy Livingston, who has been president of the international division, will succeed Mickey Callanen as president and ceo of Callanen International.
A successor to Polley has yet to be named, according to Michael Jacobi, president of Timex.
Callanen and Polley met at costume jewelry firm Monet, where Callanen had worked for 11 years in several posts, the last as executive vice president.
Polley had been with Monet for approximately three years as regional sales manager.
They began in the fashion watch business with the signing of a three-year license with the Marciano brothers to produce and distribute Guess watches.
The initial orders of 18,000 watches were small enough to be managed out of their garages; to date, more than 30 million Guess watches have been shipped throughout the U.S. and in 78 countries.
In 1995, the company added the licensed Reebok watch line, and in 1996, followed with Liz Claiborne.
Livingston joined Callanen in 1989 as a vice president of marketing and sales, and assumed responsibility for the international portion of Callanen’s business in 1992. Today, that segment of the business accounts for almost half of Callanen’s sales, said Jacobi.
Callanen spoke of the dramatic changes in the business in the past 13 years, especially computerization and the dwindling number of stores to sell to.
“There are no more hand-written orders, and with fewer stores left to sell, there are also fewer buyers, which I really miss,” Callanen said. “But what is really sad is how hard it is for a small firm to get started with the remaining major stores now.”