Signet chief quits to be closer to family

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UK-based Signet Jewellers said chief executive Michael Barnes resigned to be closer to his family in the United States, becoming the second top executive in three months to leave for the same reason.

Signet stock was down nearly 2 per cent at $105.88 in pre-market trading yesterday.

The parent of Kay Jewellers said chief operating officer Mark Light would succeed Mr Barnes, effective from October 31.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-headquartered company said Mr Barnes, who has been CEO since January 2011, resigned as he wanted “to relocate nearer to his family and pursue opportunities closer to his home in Dallas” Texas.

Signet’s chief financial officer Ronald Ristau resigned in July also to be closer to his family.

Mr Barnes joined Signet in 2010 as CEO designate and took the post in January 2011. He spearheaded its $690m buyout of smaller rival Zale Corp in February this year.

The deal, which closed in May, combined the two largest US mid-tier jewellery store chains, Zales and Signet’s Kay Jewellers.

Mr Light, Barnes’ successor, has been with the company for over 30 years in various roles.

In 2006, he became CEO of the Sterling division, which operates over 1,400 stores in 50 US states mainly under brand names Kay Jewellers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewellery.