Signet Jewelers, Ltd., the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, has named Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos as its new CEO, effective August 1. She will replace Mark Light, who served as CEO since October 2014. Light, who has been an executive at Signet for more than 35 years, is retiring due to “health reasons,” according to a company statement. However, a recent story from The Washington Post suggests that there may be other motives for Light's removal from the CEO position. The article claims Light and other company leaders presided over a corporate culture that fostered rampant sexual harassment and discrimination. Sterling disputes the allegations of roughly 250 women and men who worked at Sterling, filed as part of a private class-action arbitration case against the retailer.
Total Retail's Take: If true, the allegations detailed in The Washington Post article are quite disturbing, and paint a picture of a corporate culture gone wild. Removing Light from leadership was the right and necessary move. Furthermore, it's likely not a coincidence that Signet hired a woman (a completely qualified one) to replace Light. The company must regain the trust of its employees, and make clear that what may have transpired in the past is no longer accepted, and that all employees will be treated with respect. Drosos has quite the challenge in front of her, but her nearly 30 years of executive leadership experience figure to help ease the transition and undoubtedly implement changes for the better.