Jewelry chain CEO at center of gender discrimination case retires from Zales parent | Retail

Light was a veteran of the jewelry giant, and his father Nathan Light had previously served as chief executive of Sterling Jewelers for two decades. Mark Light retired as chief executive last Thursday, the same day the board appointed Drosos to the position, company filings show. The move will become effective at the end of this month.

Light earned about $7.4 million in salary, stock and bonuses in the last fiscal year, up from $2.4 million in 2014. Company filings show that his retirement package will include a full year of salary and a lump sum of his annual bonus, as well as $200,000 in health benefits, $975,000 each on the second and third anniversaries of his retirement, $50,000 for retirement-planning services and $50,000 for “legal fees incurred in connection” with his retirement agreement.

Signet is the world’s largest diamond-jeweler retailer and runs nearly 3,600 Kay, Jared and Zales jewelry stores around the world. But weakening jewelry demand in recent months has led company revenues to slide.

The $4 billion company’s stock has plunged by more than a third over the last year, including a steep drop following a Washington Post report in February on the former employees’ sworn statements alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.

Light’s retirement announcement follows a number of high-ranking exits this year. In May, a Signet executive vice president, Stuart Lee, and a senior vice president, Clark McEwen, announced their retirement. Last month, Signet’s chief operations officer, Bryan Morgan, resigned due to “violations of company policy unrelated to financial matters,” the company said in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The class-action case, first filed in 2008, is ongoing and now includes current and former female employees of the company nationwide. Because the case is in private arbitration, most filings have not been publicly released. A trial is scheduled for early next year.

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