Signet hires new chief executive

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Signet, the owner of the UK jewellery chains H Samuel and Ernest Jones, has hired the president of the watch brand Fossil as its new chief executive.

Mike Barnes, a veteran at Fossil, which also makes jewellery and handbags, will join the Anglo-American group as chief executive designate on 1 December. He will take over from Terry Burman, who is retiring at the end of January after 10 years at Signet. The group has 1,345 stores in the US, where it trades as Kay Jewelers. Mr Barnes, who has been at Fossil for 25 years in various roles, said: "Signet has established itself as a leading retailer in both the US and the UK, with significant competitive advantages."

Signet, which has 548 stores in the UK, was buffeted by the downturn in consumer spending on both sides of the Atlantic during the recession.

But it recovered with a 4.5 per cent jump in underlying sales for the 26 weeks to 31 July. Sir Malcolm Williamson, Signet's chairman, said: "Mike is a seasoned and accomplished manager who with his strategic and attentive outlook to operational details brings valuable experience to Signet."