Longtime Fossil CEO Steps Down, COO Steps Up as Interim Chief

The watchmaker's CEO, Kosta Kartsotis, is immediately transitioning from his role and board position. Jeffrey Boyer steps in as interim CEO, as the company initiates a search for a new permanent leader.

Kosta Kartsotis, longtime CEO of Richardson-based watchmaker Fossil, is stepping down from that position and from the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Chief operating officer Jeffrey Boyer has been named interim CEO and moves onto the board, according to a company news release. Kevin Mansell, lead independent director of the board, has been appointed as chairman, effective immediately.

Mansell has over 40 years of retail industry experience, most recently serving as chairman, CEO, and president of Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE: KSS), one of the largest department store retail chains in the U.S., until his retirement in May 2018.

Kartsotis will remain on in a transitional role until September, and the company said he will provide consulting services until September 2025.

Kartsotis, 71, has been CEO of the Richardson-based company since 2000 and chairman since 2010. He joined the company in 1988, four years after Fossil was founded by his brother Tom Kartsotis, who left Fossil in 2010 to start the Shinola brand in Detroit.

Fossil’s board has hired an executive search firm to find a permanent CEO and the company said that both internal and external candidates will be considered.

Board expresses confidence in Boyer during transition

“On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Kosta for his unwavering commitment and leadership to Fossil,” Mansell said in a statement. “We have great confidence in [Boyer] to guide the Company through this period of transition as we undergo a strategic review, continue to advance our Transform and Grow Plan and pursue our search for the Company’s next CEO in our effort to create long-term value for our stockholders.”

Boyer brings extensive retail and leadership experience

Boyer brings over 30 years of retail experience to his new role, having been instrumental in leading key initiatives under Fossil’s TAG Plan. Since joining the company’s executive leadership team in 2017, he has served as Chief Operating Officer since April 2021 and previously held the positions of Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for four years. Before transitioning to the management team, Boyer was a member of Fossil’s Board of Directors for 10 years.

Prior to his tenure at Fossil Group, Boyer held executive leadership positions at various retail and consumer companies, including Pier 1 Imports, Inc., Tuesday Morning Corporation, 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Holdings, Inc., and Michaels Stores, Inc. His experience also includes leadership roles at consumer product firms such as The Pillsbury Company and Kraft General Foods.

Fossil’s diverse brand portfolio

Fossil makes fashion watches under its namesake brand and owns the Michele, Relic, Skagen, and Zodiac brands. Licensed brands include Armani Exchange, Diesel, DKNY, Emporio Armani, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, and Tory Burch.

“Kartsotis’ departure was not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s financial statements, internal controls, operations, policies, or practices,” the company said in a statement in Fossil’s amended proxy statement.

The Dallas Morning News said that in recent years, Kartsotis sold most of his company stock.

The newspaper reported that the departure came on the same day that Fossil posted a net loss of $28.2 million and a 15.6% decline in revenue to $421.3 million in the quarter ended Dec. 30.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report. 

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