Akron, Ohio–Signet Jewelers Ltd. announced Monday that longtime executive and current CEO Mark Light will retire at the end of the month and be succeeded by Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos, a former biotech executive who has been on the company’s board since 2012.
The 55-year-old Light has spent his entire career at Signet and has been its CEO since 2014.
Prior to becoming CEO, Light was Signet’s president and chief operating officer and, before that, headed the company’s Sterling Jewelers division, the arm of Signet that includes the Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry chains.
He is set to retire on July 31. Drosos will take over as CEO on Aug. 1.
Signet said Monday that Light is retiring due to health reasons.
His retirement comes at a time when the retailer’s sales are slumping and many longtime executives are leaving the company as its works to adjust to the changes in retail and improve its digital capabilities.
Drosos has been an independent director on Signet’s board since 2012.
She serves on the Compensation and Nomination and Corporate Governance Committees, the Customer Experience subcommittee focused on omnichannel strategy and the new Respect in the Workforce Committee, formed just this year to “reaffirm” the company’s commitment to equal opportunity after The Washington Post published a damaging story detailing past accounts of sexual harassment and mistreatment of female employees at the company.
Drosos is the first woman to head the retailer, which traces its roots back to 1857 with the opening of the first H. Samuel store.
Prior to her time with Signet, Drosos was the president and CEO of Assurex Health, a Mason, Ohio-based biotech company, and, prior to that, worked as a group president of Global Beauty Care at Procter & Gamble.
At Assurex, she delivered “significant revenue growth” and oversaw the August 2016 sale of the company to Myriad Genetics, leading her to receive the Venture Ohio Exit of the Year, Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year and EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
“I am honored to serve as the CEO of Signet and look forward to working with our strong management and team members to deliver our revised 2020 Vision, which is focused on bridal, digital and women’s fashion,” Drosos said in the company release announcing her appointment.
Signet’s announcement that it has a new CEO comes less than a week after another major jewelry retail chain, Tiffany & Co., announced a change at the top.