Kowalski to Retire as Tiffany CEO, Cumenal to Succeed


Jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. (TIF) revealed that the company’s current chief executive officer (CEO), Michael J. Kowalski will retire in 2015. He will be succeeded by Frederic Cumenal.

Kowalski, whose retirement will take effect from Mar 31, 2015, will continue to serve the board as non-Executive chairman. He joined the company in 1983, became a board member in 1995, assumed the role of CEO in 1999 and finally achieved chairmanship in 2003.

Cumenal, on the other hand joined Tiffany three years back as executive vice president, taking charge of global sales and distribution. In 2013, he was promoted to the position of president, simultaneously becoming a part of the board. With this role, Cumenal was given the responsibility of handling merchandising, design and marketing operations.

The outgoing CEO remains quite impressed with the company’s achievements and believes that it is well placed on its growth trajectory. Management also believes that Cumenal will be an ideal successor and with Kowalski serving as the chairman, their duo is likely to take the company to newer heights.

Further, we believe that this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock holds a significant position in the world jewelry market and its long-term growth prospects remain encouraging, given its new product launches and focus on enhancing its geographic reach through store expansion program. It remains committed to achieve long-term objectives of at least 15% earnings growth and a 10% to 12% sales increase.

Alongside, we believe that with more emphasis on cost containment efforts, inventory management and a global distribution platform, Tiffany remains well positioned to sustain the growth momentum.

Other players in the retail industry, which look attractive at current levels, include Citi Trends Inc. (CTRN) and Christopher & Banks Corp. (CBK), each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Signet Jewelers Ltd, (SIG) holding a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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