Upscale jewelry retailer Tiffany Co. on Tuesday named Mark Erceg, former chief financial officer of Canadian Pacific Railway, as its next CFO. He will be responsible for the company's worldwide financial, indirect procurement and information technology functions.
Erceg, whose appointment is effective Oct. 18, replaces Tiffany's former CFO Ralph Nicoletti, who left in May after just two years to become CFO of consumer products company Newell Brands.
Erceg has no experience in luxury retail, but that shouldn’t derail him if his hire is a good fit, say analysts. "Good companies are thriving on the back of talent coming from other industries,” Luca Solca, managing director equities for luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, told the Wall Street Journal.
Tiffany, an iconic American jeweler founded in New York in the 19th century, has been buffeted by the dollar’s muscle and the slowdown in Asian and global markets. While the retailer continues to symbolize high value and good taste, it needs to find more ways to appeal to luxury shoppers, especially younger ones.
Tiffany has been putting a lot of effort into capturing the youth demographic, featuring same-sex couples in its advertising and employing new designers. In April, Tiffany also announced it will sell some items via designer retail website Net-A-Porter for a limited time, its first efforts to sell online outside of its own website.
As CFO, Erceg will need to find a way to turn around the retailer's sales dip. Last month, Tiffany reported that in the second quarter worldwide net sales declined 6% to $932 million and comparable store sales declined 8%. The retailer maintained the outlook it adjusted in May, expecting full-year earnings to decline by a mid-single-digit percentage on a per-share basis.
Prior to joining Canadian Pacific Railway, Erceg spent 2010 to 2015 as CFO for Masonite International Corporation. He began his career at Procter & Gamble, serving in a range of positions in finance, market strategy, customer response, general management and global investor relations.
Tiffany's seems unfazed by Erceg's dearth of jewelry retail experience. "Mark brings an operational process orientation and a broad financial, international and consumer brands background to Tiffany," CEO Frederic Cumenal said in a statement. "His varied experience and global perspective will be important as we continue to work toward strengthening Tiffany's luxury brand position around the world and enhancing our profitability and productivity."