Just over a year after Signet Jewelers’ CEO and key executives were accused of sexual harassment, the company has achieved gender parity on its board of directors under a female chief. And that diversity is helping Signet work through its challenges ever faster.
“We now have 50% women on our board,” Signet CEO Virginia “Gina” Drosos said during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on Monday. “It’s incredible how much faster we are able to pass an agenda because everyone isn’t talking on top of each other. They’re talking about different things, and listening to what each other has to say.”
Signet, which operates Kay, Jared, and Zales stores, was hit by sexual harassment allegations in Feb. 2017. Then-CEO Mark Light was among the individuals named, having allegedly promoted women who responded to his sexual advances, according to reports from the Washington Post. Light would resign in July of that year for health reasons, and it was in this tumultuous time that Drosos was named his successor.
Drosos did not directly bring up the harassment allegations on stage in Laguna Niguel.
But the jeweler has indeed reached boardroom parity. Fifty-four percent of the board is now female, after adding two women in March: Former Best Buy Chief Financial Officer, Sharon McCollam, and Campbell Soup Company’s former Chief Human Resources Officer, Nancy A. Reardon.
“It’s not an overly polite discussion by any stretch, but it’s a difficult, challenging discussion,” Drosos said Monday regarding the company’s board discussion. “And we’re just getting the important issues out on the table faster by having a more diverse group advise us.”