Mark Light, the Signet Jewelers chief executive at the center of a sprawling gender-discrimination case, will retire due to “health reasons” and be replaced at the end of this month, the company said Monday.
Light was named CEO in 2014 and worked for 35 years at the retail-jewelry conglomerate, best known for its brands Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers. He will be replaced by Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos, who has served on the company’s board since 2012.
Light’s tenure has been marked by an ongoing class-action arbitration case in which 69,000 women who worked for a Signet subsidiary, Sterling Jewelers, alleged that the company discriminated against them in pay and promotion practices.
Hundreds of women have filed sworn statements in recent years alleging that they also faced sexual harassment or discrimination, and Light and other key executives were accused of promoting women based upon their responses to sexual demands, attorneys for the women said in a 2013 filing.
The class-action case, first filed in 2008, is ongoing and 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.
Joseph M. Sellers, a partner at the Cohen Milstein law firm and lead counsel for the case, said on Monday that lawyers continue to hear from women who have complained of mistreatment in the company.
“We look forward to the new CEO making long-needed improvements in the treatment of women in the workplace,” Sellers said.
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