Majors

Warren Buffett Picks a Woman to Head Ben Bridge

MajorsNov 07, 2017

Warren Buffett Picks a Woman to Head Ben Bridge

Lisa Bridge is now the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Lisa Bridge was Ben Bridge Jeweler’s vice president of education and creator of the Lisa Bridge Collection before being promoted to president and chief operating officer. She officially moved into her new post on Nov. 1.

Seattle--Lisa Bridge is now president and chief operating officer of Ben Bridge Jeweler, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned, family-run chain announced Monday.

She is the first female president in company history and, at 32, its youngest top executive in more than 60 years.

Current co-CEO and General Counsel Jon Bridge is retiring while President and co-CEO Ed Bridge will become the company’s chairman and CEO.

Marc Bridge, Lisa’s brother and Ben Bridge’s vice president of marketing, has left the company.

“With the challenges facing retailing, I am excited to have someone passionate for the jewelry business with creative ideas and an understanding of today’s consumer at the helm. Lisa has retailing in her blood,” Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said in a news release announcing the changes.

A fifth-generation jeweler, Lisa Bridge is a certified gemologist and jewelry designer who grew up in the family business.

She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and attended the Gemological Institute of America, where she received her graduate gemologist degree in residence.

She spent time in the company’s buying department, developing both her passion for gemstones and her understanding of the sourcing and design process, before launching her namesake collection in 2015. The Lisa Bridge Collection has become one of the fastest-growing lines for the company, the retailer said.

For the last seven years, Lisa Bridge worked as the company’s vice president of education, overseeing the education and professional development of 1,200 associates.

As president, she will oversee merchandising, operations, marketing, sales and human resources.

“I love the relationships that are built over a beautiful piece of jewelry, and I am eager to provide amazing experiences for each of our customers,” she said.

In addition to Ben Bridge Jeweler Inc., Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns Helzberg Diamonds and Borsheims in Omaha, Nebraska.

The billionaire investor is known for appointing women to leadership positions--Beryl Raff is chairwoman and CEO at Helzberg while Karen Goracke succeeded Susan Jacques at Borsheims. And there is, in fact, a book on the subject, “The Women of Berkshire Hathaway: Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Female CEOs.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated post-publication to include information about Marc Bridge.

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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