3/20/12

Blue Nile names Harvey Kanter as its next CEO

Kanter was president and CEO of Moosejaw Mountaineering.

Mark Brohan , Research Director

A veteran e-commerce manager will take the helm at Blue Nile Inc. The online jewelry retailer, No. 60 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide has hired as its new CEO Harvey Kanter. He had been president and CEO at Moosejaw Mountaineering (No. 281) since January 2009.

Kanter takes over from interim CEO Vijay Talwar, who has been appointed Blue Nile's general manager and president of international, and will lead Blue Nile's international business, the retailer says.

Talwar took over as CEO in November from Diane Irvine when she left the company. Irvine had taken over the job from founder and chairman Mark Vadon in February 2008.

As the new top executive at Blue Nile, Kanter will earn a base salary of $650,000, a signing bonus of $100,000 and other performance-based compensation, the retailer says.

Prior to running Moosejaw, Kanter worked Backcountry Travel Inc., a multichannel retailer of premium outdoor apparel, and as executive vice president and managing director of Michaels Stores, one of the largest craft store chains in the United States and Canada, with nearly $4 billion in annual sales. While at Michaels from 2006 to 2008, Kanter led the overhaul of the company's product merchandising and was responsible for product trend development, Blue Nile says.

Kanter has also worked as president of Aaron Brothers, Art and Framing, a division of Michaels, and at other retail businesses, including Eddie Bauer, Carter Hawley Hale and Sears.

"Harvey brings a leadership style and a unique ability to align product strategy and marketing," Vadon says. "His dynamism and passion, coupled with his experience in online and traditional retail, are just what we need to drive growth and inspire the next generation of Blue Nile customers.”

Kanter takes over Blue Nile at time the company is looking to jumpstart profits and sales.

For the year ended Jan. 1, Blue Nile reported:

• Sales increased 4.5% to $348.0 million from $332.9 million in 2010.

• Net income decreased 19.1% to $11.4 million from $14.1 million.

Eoin Comerford, senior Vice President, marketing and technology, Moosejaw Mountaineering, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in a session entitled “Making your e-commerce site play nice with smartphones.” The IRCE $200 early-bird discount expires Mar. 31.

Topics:

Backcountry Travel, Blue Nile, CEO, Diane Irvine, Harvey Kanter, international e-commerce, Mark Vadon, Michaels Stores, Moosejaw Mountaineering, NewsMakers, online jewelry sales, Top 500, Vijay Talwar, web-only retailer

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