Tiffany CEO to Retire After 15 Years

The iconic jewelry house is switching hands.
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Dhani Mau
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The iconic jewelry house is switching hands.
Frederic Cumenal. Photo: Julien Hekimian/Getty

Frederic Cumenal. Photo: Julien Hekimian/Getty

Some fashion houses seem to be revolving doors of CEOs, with chief executive duties changing hands as often as creative director duties

Not so at Tiffany: The iconic fine jewelry brand has had the same CEO for the past 15 years -- Michael J. Kowalski, 62, who has led Tiffany through a decade and a half of major growth both domestically and abroad. The company announced Monday that Kowalski is retiring, and his last day will be March 31, 2015. He'll be succeeded by current president Frederic Cumenal, but will continue to serve on Tiffany's Board as a non-executive chairman.

Kowalski actually joined Tiffany in 1983 and became CEO in 1999.  It sounds like his duties will be in good hands: Cumenal has been with the company since 2011 and became president in 2013, overseeing design, merchandising and marketing functions as well as worldwide sales and distribution.

Kowalski is credited with expanding the company globally, opening several stores per year in emerging markets without damaging the brand's air of exclusivity, and while maintaining steady growth. While at the helm, Tiffany's stock price has risen from about $15 to nearly $100 today. Net sales increased from about $1.6 billion in 2000 to about $4 billion in 2013.