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Signet CEO Out; New Chief Named

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Mark Light is retiring.

HAMILTON, BERMUDA — Signet Jewelers Ltd. has named Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos as its new CEO.INSTORE Virginia C. Drosos

She replaces Mark Light, who has served as CEO of Signet (NYSE: SIG) since 2014. He is retiring after more than 35 years with the company due to health reasons, according to a Signet press release.

The appointment is effective Aug. 1. Signet is the parent of Sterling Jewelers, which operates Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Kay Jewelers and Zales.

“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Mark for his years of dedicated service and the many contributions he made to the Company,” said Todd Stitzer, chairman of Signet’s board. “He has been instrumental to the company’s growth and success.”

Drosos, who has over 29 years of executive leadership experience in the beauty and consumer goods industries, has been an independent director of Signet’s board since 2012. She previously served as president and CEO of Assurex Health and as a group president of global beauty care at Procter & Gamble Co.

Stitzer said Drosos is “a visionary and transformational leader with a proven track record of growing and scaling global businesses through winning strategies and innovation.”

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“Gina’s experience brings a unique combination of demonstrated brand building, given her strong background in beauty, along with the creativity, flexibility and boldness of an entrepreneurial mindset,” he said.

Drosos said Signet is “well positioned to continue to drive its unprecedented leadership in diamond jewelry and expand its market share in growing categories, such as fashion jewelry.”

“I am committed to successfully executing our strategic priorities as we continue to transform Signet to become a more innovative, digital-first and data-driven retailer focused on delivering an outstanding OmniChannel experience to customers,” she said.

Sterling has faced controversy lately related to a class-action arbitration case. About 250 former employees of the company have alleged that its culture was rife with sexual discrimination and harassment.

The claims are part of an arbitration case that dates to 2008. In total, the class-action arbitration case includes 69,000 women. According to the Washington Post, the declarations include claims that women were “routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed.”

Officials with Signet, parent of Sterling, have said the company investigated the allegations and found them not to be substantiated.

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Additionally, Sterling recently agreed to let an outside expert examine some of its practices related to employment as part of a settlement with the federal government, as The New York Times reported.

In civil charges, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had claimed that the company’s female workers suffered discrimination.

In the agreement, Sterling does not have to pay damages or acknowledge fault. The expert will look at the company’s promotion and pay practices.

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