By Michelle Graff
Ruth Batson has been with the American Gem Society since 1993, and has been its CEO since 2002. The longtime industry leader announced her retirement Monday.

Las Vegas—The American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories announced today that CEO Ruth Batson will retire in June 2017. Her retirement will mark the end of a nearly 25-year career with the organization.

Batson, who holds a bachelor’s in business accounting from the University of Phoenix, started working at AGS in 1993 as controller, just as the organization relocated its headquarters from California to Las Vegas.

In August 1998, she became the AGS’s chief financial officer. Four years later, she was promoted to CEO.

She added CEO of AGS Labs to her title in 2012, after AGS announced it had acquired the outstanding shares of American Gem Society Laboratories.

In a statement released Monday by AGS, Batson noted that she spent her entire career in the jewelry industry with one organization, AGS, and considers it a privilege and honor to serve its membership.

“I will forever feel connected to the wonderful AGS and AGS Laboratories staff, the members and my jewelry industry friends,” she said. “We have an excellent team, and I know the society and laboratory will be in good hands.”

After retirement, Batson will split her time between her home in Las Vegas, where AGS is headquartered, and her family’s ranch in Montana.

The AGS’s board of directors will form a committee to find a new CEO.

AGS President Louis Smith, of Smithworks Fine Jewelry in Spartanburg, N.C., said Batson will participate in the search and on-boarding process for the new CEO, adding, “We are confident that we will find a great successor to guide the organization forward. Ruth has generously provided us with ample time to make a seamless transition.”

Both Smith and AGS President-Elect Scott Berg praised Batson’s leadership, contributions and dedication to the organization, which have not gone unnoticed by the industry as a whole.

Batson has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards over the years, including the Excellence in Service Award from the Women’s Jewelry Association (2010), the Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope honoree (2012) and the Doyenne of the Year Award from the Indian Diamond & Colored Stone Association in 2013.

In 2014, she won the WJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has made JCK magazine’s Power List for the last four years.

She also serves on the boards of the WJA, JFC, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, U.S. Jewelry Council and JCK Show Advisory Board, and chairs the Ethical Initiatives Committee for Jewelers of America.

Smith said throughout her career, Batson has dedicated herself to making sure the AGS’s mission is fulfilled, building a strong team and making a lasting impact along the way.

“We are forever grateful for her service and contribution to the American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories,” he concluded. “She will always be part of the AGS family.”

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