By Michelle Graff
R. Mark Graff, the CFO of Discover Financial Services, has been appointed to Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s board of directors.
Akron, Ohio--The chief financial officer of Discover has been tapped to join Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s board of directors just as the retailer begins the process of outsourcing its in-house credit program.

R. Mark Graf, 53, became CFO of payments and credit card company Discover Financial Services in 2011. Prior to that, he was an investment advisor at Aquiline Capital Partners, a partner at Barrett Ellman Stoddard Capital Partners and the CFO of Fifth Third Bancorp.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

He will officially join Signet’s board on July 1.

In a company statement welcoming Graf to the board, Chairman H. Todd Stitzer mentioned his “deep, balanced and diversified finance, credit and leadership experience.”

The announcement of Graf’s appointment comes almost exactly a month after Signet said that it has begun jettisoning its in-house credit program, starting with the sale of $1 billion of its prime-only accounts to Alliance Data System Corp. and a seven-year deal with Progressive Leasing that will allow customers who don’t qualify for credit to do a lease-purchase on jewelry from one of Signet’s stores.

Exiting Signet’s 12-member board is 74-year-old Dale W. Hilpert, who is retiring after more than a decade.

Hilpert, the former CEO of Williams-Sonoma Inc. (April 2001 to January 2003) and, prior to that, Foot Locker Inc., joined Signet’s board in 2003.

He also served as a director of Ann Inc., the company that operates Ann Taylor and Loft women’s clothing stores, until Ascena Retail Group acquired the company in August 2015. He was asked to join Signet’s board because of his general management and retail-specific skills.

Signet said Hilpert is retiring for “personal reasons.” His retirement will be effective June 28.

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