Berkshire Hathaway’s Helzberg Diamonds has announced the retirement of Beryl Raff, the company’s chairman and CEO. Raff will continue to advise and consult the Helzberg Diamonds’ executive team as non-executive chairman of the board.
With a remarkable retail career spanning 50 years, Raff has led Helzberg Diamonds with 13 years of dedicated service and unrelenting commitment. Since 2009, she has reshaped and helped the company navigate through the most tumultuous retail economic times with calm, decisive, and strategic leadership and, most importantly, a great heart.
“I’ll never forget the day I was asked to lead Helzberg Diamonds – I couldn’t wait to get started! Fast forward 13 years, it’s been an honor to be on this incredible journey with the talented people at Helzberg, and to serve among the exceptional leaders of Berkshire Hathaway,” said Beryl Raff, chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds. “Together we’ve created a business that is agile and responsive to the ever-changing retail environment. Most importantly, Helzberg Diamonds is my family. The relationships I’ve built with my teams, sales associates, and customers have enhanced my life beyond measure. I’ll miss everything about leading this amazing brand, but I’m ready to start a new chapter.”
Raff guided Helzberg Diamonds to exceed a multitude of significant performance goals. As the longest serving non-family CEO at Helzberg, she made the company relevant again in the retail landscape. A constant learner and never satisfied with the status quo, she challenged herself and every area of the business to view each day as an opportunity to do something new and different to propel the company’s success.
“I want to personally thank Beryl for her industry-leading vision and one-of-a-kind contributions to Helzberg Diamonds. She will be missed,” said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
“When Beryl arrived in Kansas City, it wasn’t long before she called Shirley and me and asked us to re-engage with the company’s culture,” said Barnett Helzberg Jr., former chairman, CEO, and founding family member of Helzberg Diamonds. “She valued the people and brought back the heart and family-feeling culture to the company. Shirley and I are proud not only of what she has achieved but also to call her a treasured friend.”
Raff will conclude her tenure as chief executive officer on July 1, 2022. Brad Hampton, who has served as Helzberg Diamonds’ chief financial officer and executive board member for the past five years, will then take over the role of chief executive officer. Julie Yoakum will assume the role of president – chief merchandising officer, and Bruce Pryor, senior vice president – e-commerce, who has elevated Helzberg’s digital capabilities, will report to Yoakum. Mitch Maggart will assume the role of executive vice president – chief operations & real estate officer. Ellen Junger, senior vice-president – chief marketing officer, who has driven Helzberg’s customer-first marketing approach, will report to Hampton. Brad Hampton also will continue serving as CFO in the interim until a successor is selected.
“Beryl’s steadfast leadership helped position Helzberg Diamonds as an efficient and effective organization that is dedicated to meeting its customers’ needs,” said Greg Abel, vice-chairman of non-insurance operations of Berkshire Hathaway. “Helzberg’s newly formed executive leadership team has remarkable business acumen that will ensure the company continues to see success well into the future.”
In addition to serving as non-executive chair at Helzberg Diamonds, Raff will continue her service on the corporate boards of Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc., Helen of Troy Limited and the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.