Traditional diamond and jewelry industry used to be controlled by family members of businesses and veterans in the industry, who used to treat it as their fiefdom, resistant to much change. But as global business landscape changes, with advancements in technology, shifting of consumer behavior and preferences, this old narrative is also changing. Veterans in the diamond industry are moving out and at the same time professionals from outside the jewelry industry and even outside family are joining trade, hoping to bring fresh perspective and ideas.
IGI North America President exits to form Lab-grown diamond exchange
President and CEO of IGI (International Gemological Institute) North America – Jerry Ehrenwald, is exiting the organization after serving for almost 40 years and holding his last role at IGI for 28 years. During his stint at IGI, Jerry spearheaded invention of Laserscribe device (US Patented), which can inscribe unique identification numbers on diamonds. Jerry is exiting to head a New York-based Lab Grown Diamond Exchange platform – LGDEX.org, where consumers and businesses in the diamond pipeline can buy or sell Lab-grown diamonds.
WDC Executive Director steps out
Executive Director of WDC (World Diamond Council) Marie-Chantal Kaninda has resigned from the organization to pursue new career opportunities. Marie-Chantal spent two years at WDC leading it, and was recently honored as one of Africa’s 100 most influential women by Forbes Afrique. Originally from DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Marie-Chantal has previously worked with diamond and metal mining majors including Rio Tinto, De Beers and AngloGold.
Signet UK’s new MD to be from outside jewelry trade
Jewelry retail giant Signet Group that has H Samuel and Ernest Jones brands, has appointed Neil Old – a professional from outside the jewelry industry to head its UK division as Managing Director. Neil has worked with British photographic major Jessops – owned by Dragon Den’s star Peter Jones, for seven years as its CEO before joining Signet. Previously Neil has also worked with Dixons Carphone and Kingfisher in senior management capacities. Taking over from Emma Hayward as UK MD, Neil is tasked for successful execution of Signet’s transformation plan, driving customer first strategic priority, being omnichannel and cultural shift of becoming more agile and efficient. Neil will directly report to Signet Group’s Chief Executive Virginia Drosos.
Jewelry Retailer James Avery to be head by a non-family member for the first time in history
Jewelry retail chain – James Avery Artisan Jewelry is for the first time in its 6 decade old history going to be headed by a non-family member. Company’s COO John McCullough will take charge from Chris Avery who succeeded his father James Avery in 2007. The privately held family owned and managed business famous for its charms, rings and other gold and sterling silver jewelry items has 91 eponymous stores spread across 5 states in US, employs around 3,500 people and its jewelry being also sold in more than 220 Dillard’s stores and two airport outlets. While Chris will continue to remain Chairman, other family members besides Chris will remain involved in the business. The new CEO – John plans to add 6 – 8 new stores per year and augment its revenue streams. Current CFO Paul Ziff will take the mantle from John and become President and COO.