Frédéric Cuménal abruptly stepped down as CEO hours before Tiffany’s first Super Bowl commercial featuring Lady Gaga was aired on 5 February 2017 (See page 111 for the video).
This followed the second consecutive year where revenue and profits declined under Cuménal’s leadership (Tiffany’s financial year ends on 31 January).
It was also reported in The Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”)* that just two days before the Super Bowl, JANA Partners informed the Company that it had built a stake and was seeking a meeting.
On the surface, the reasons for Cuménal’s dismissal were due to the lack of progress Cuménal had made in the previous two years, and also his low expectations for a quick turnaround in the near future*.
However, it was also speculated that Tiffany’s problem with Cuménal ran much deeper*, starting with his poor relationship and lack of communication with the Board, and also his hierarchical/structured management style that clashed with the more open style atmosphere which Mr. Kowalski promoted in the past decade.
We believe the announcement of Cuménal’s immediate dismissal just before Tiffany’s first ever Super Bowl commercial signalled the Board’s strong disapproval of where Cuménal was taking Tiffany.
“The Board is committed to our current core business strategies, but has been disappointed by recent financial results. The Board believes that accelerating execution of those strategies is necessary to compete more effectively in today’s global luxury market and improve performance.” Tiffany’s announcement of Frédéric Cuménal stepping down as CEO on 5 February 2017.
T I F FA N Y & C O [ T I F : U S ]
2017 – FRÉDÉRIC CUMÉNAL STEPPED DOWN AS CEO