By Brecken Branstrator
New York--In a move that shows the increasing importance and relevancy of wearable tech in the industry, Movado Group has hired Jo An Lawson, a former Apple employee, as its general manager of wearable devices.

In this role, Lawson will lead the company’s wearable device initiatives, a route that will allow the company “to extend our brand reach and provide a new avenue for growth,” Movado said. She will report to vice chairman and COO Rick Coté.

She will be responsible for identifying opportunities for Movado in the technology arena as well as developing strategic alliances that will position the company to launch wearable device products consistent with its luxury branding.

Lawson joins Movado with significant brand and marketing experience, including nine years at Apple Inc. Most recently, she served as a marketing strategist at West Studios, acting as interim vice president of marketing for some of the top technology companies.

Daniel’s Jewelers hires new CFO

Daniel’s Jewelers announced that it has appointed Joseph Donaghy as its chief financial officer.

Donaghy comes to Daniel’s after holding positions as executive vice president, chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, and member of the board of directors of Ultra Jewelers both before and immediately after the company was acquired by Signet Jewelers Ltd.

Prior to Ultra, he held a senior operating position at Friedman Jewelers and served as the CFO of Crescent Jewelers.

Coinciding with Donaghy’s appointment, Art Ronci, the company’s senior vice president, was promoted to COO, and will retain responsibility for credit and collections operations, management information systems, customer service and corporate administration.

Headquartered in Culver City, Calif., Daniel’s has 74 locations throughout the state. New York-based private equity firm Palladium Equity Partners LLC recently made a major investment in the chain, with plans to open new Daniel’s Jewelers stores and pursue strategic acquisitions, both inside and outside California.

CEO of Gucci jewelry division steps down
Michele Sofisti has left his position as the CEO of Gucci Watches and Jewelry, citing other personal and professional opportunities that he wanted to pursue.

The company said that Sofisti’s replacement will be named in the near future; Gucci CEO Patrizio di Marco will serve as acting CEO in the meantime.

Sofisti joined Gucci Group Watches as the strategic advisor in 2009. He was promoted to CEO in 2010 and then in 2011 also was named CEO of the Sowind Group, the parent company of Swiss luxury watch brands Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard that later moved under Kering’s control.

Sofisti stepped down from his position at Sowind in July to focus on Gucci Watches and Jewelry.

Signet creates CIO role
Signet Jewelers has named Daniel Shull as the company’s first chief information officer, effective Jan. 5.  He will relocate to the northeastern Ohio area for the position, which will put him in charge of the information technology systems across all three of Signet’s division.

Shull will report to CEO Mark Light and serve on Signet’s executive committee.

He joins the company after more than seven years at Nike, where he held various IT leadership roles, including global retail CIO, as well as most recently serving as vice president of strategy, architecture and portfolio for the entire company.

He also spent 15 years at Borders Group, rising to the position of CIO and serving as vice president of application development as well as key merchandising leadership roles.

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