Tiffany & Co CEO steps down amid struggling financial results


The chief executive of Tiffany & Co has stepped down amid continued financial struggles and disappointing trading results for the upmarket jewellery retailer.

The famed luxury retailer – which has five standalone stores in London, two at Heathrow airport and concessions with Selfridges and Harrods – confirmed yesterday that Frederic Cumenal will be replaced with chairman Michael Kowalski on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found.

Kowalski will also keep his chairman responsibilities, Tiffany & Co said. 

Last month, the retailer announced that 2016 holiday sales missed their targets, which they attributed in part to post-US presidential election “traffic disruptions” near its famous New York City flagship store — which is right next to Trump Tower.

While global net sales rose one per cent from the same period of 2015, like-for-like sales dipped by one per cent when viewed on a constant-exchange-rate basis, Tiffany & Co said. 

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette’s free daily email newsletter

Sales over its Christmas trading period also grew seven per cent in Asia-Pacific and 16 per cent in Japan, but these increases were offset by continuing declines in the Americas and Europe.

In a statement issued yesterday, Kowalski thanked Cumenal for enhancing the management team and positioning the retailer for the long term.

“The board is committed to our current core business strategies, but has been disappointed by recent financial results,” Kowalski stated.

“The board believes that accelerating execution of those strategies is necessary to compete more effectively in today’s global luxury market and improve performance.

“As such, we remain focused on enhancing the customer experience, increasing the rate of new product introductions and innovation, maximizing marketing effectiveness, optimising the store network, and improving our business operations and processes.”

Cumenal joined Tiffany in 2011 after holding a series of senior leadership posts at Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH Group, including his last post there as president and chief executive of Moët & Chandon.

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette’s free daily email newsletter