Tiffany & Co announced on Sunday that Frederic Cumenal has stepped down as chief executive officer “effectively immediately,” after less than two years in the role. Cumenal’s departure comes just after the New York-based jewelry company recently reported “disappointing” financial results.
The retailer said its chairman and previous chief executive, Michael Kowalski, would serve as interim CEO while the board of directors hunts for a new CEO. Kowalski, who will continue as Chairman, said in a statement on Sunday: "The Board is committed to our current core business strategies, but has been disappointed by recent financial results.” He said the company remains focused on "enhancing the customer experience, increasing the rate of new product introductions and innovation, maximizing marketing effectiveness, ... all while efficiently managing our capital and costs."
Tiffany & Co., whose New York flagship calls Trump Tower a neighbor, said in January that its sales during the November-December holiday period were "somewhat lower" than it had expected, hurt by lower consumer spending and a drop in sales at its flagship store in New York. According to a recent statement from the brand: "Management attributed the lower sales to local customer spending, with a decline in US sales exacerbated by a 14% decline at the company's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, which we attribute at least partly to post-election traffic disruptions.”
In other Tiffany & Co. news, while the company was scrambling amidst news of Cumenal’s departure, it made its Super Bowl commercial debut. In fact, maybe even more surprising than the news of Cumenal’s resignation is the fact the luxury jewelry retailer chose Super Bowl Sunday to do it (just hours before kickoff). The company unveiled half-time show performer Lady Gaga as the face of its new fashion jewelry collection, Tiffany HardWear, with its first ever Super Bowl commercial.
Mark L. Aaron, VP-Investor Relations, said on Sunday that the timing was coincidental. “That’s just the way it happened.”