By Michelle Graff

New York--After 15 years, Michael J. Kowalski is stepping down as chairman of the board of Tiffany & Co. and will be replaced by a board newcomer whose 40 years of experience in retail includes top posts at Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch.

Roger Farah, 64, joined Tiffany’s board this past spring. His appointment as chairman will become effective Oct. 2, at which time Kowalski, who has been board chairman since 2002, will become just a director.

Farah was one of three new board members installed in March due to pressure from activist investor Jana Partners LLC. Jana now owns 5 percent of the retailer’s outstanding stock and has been pushing for changes at the company.

Farah most recently served as co-CEO and a member of the board of Tory Burch LLC and, prior to that, spent 14 years on the board of Ralph Lauren Corp., where he also was president and chief operating officer for 13 years.

Kowalski has been on Tiffany’s board since 1995 and served as its chairman since 2002, and was the company’s CEO from 1999 until his retirement in March 2015.

Earlier this year, Kowalski came out of retirement to serve as interim CEO when Frederic Cumenal stepped down after two years on the job.

In July, Tiffany announced that it had selected a new CEO, Diesel head Alessandro Bogliolo.

Bogliolo is slated to take over at Tiffany on Oct. 2, at which time Kowalski will relinquish the title of interim CEO as well.

“With the appointment of Alessandro as our new CEO, and under Roger’s leadership on the board, I believe we are well positioned to execute on strategies to drive comparable store sales growth and stronger earnings growth in the longer term,” Kowalski said.

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