CRANSTON R.I. (WPRI) – The former CEO of Rhode Island-based jewelry manufacturer Alex and Ani is attributing his abrupt departure to a decision by the company to go in a new direction.
Giovanni Feroce, 45, will be replaced on an interim basis by Carolyn Rafaelian, the company’s founder and creative director, according to a statement released by the company Thursday.
Rafaelian will serve as CEO while the board of directors conducts a search to replace Feroce. The process is expected to take several months.
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In an phone interview Friday with Eyewitness News, Feroce wouldn’t go into specifics about what exactly led to the decision, but attributed it to a series of events.
“As is the case in many growing companies, people want to go with the known rather than the unknown,” he said. “Ultimately I don’t think it was one person’s decision, I think it was just time in the life-cycle of the company and as of yesterday, they’re going in a new direction.”
Feroce said he had a great working relationship with Rafaelian. The pair met at a URI fraternity/sorority reunion in 2009.
“As long as she was the creative director and I was the CEO, the lines were great,” he said, “That’s how we operated so competently.”
The former CEO said he will miss the dedicated and hardworking employees most, and hopes whatever direction Alex and Ani takes, that Rhode Island will continue to benefit.
“I’m very proud of everything we did; very proud it’s a Rhode Island-based, Rhode Island-homegrown organization that creates a lot of jobs,” he told Eyewitness News.
Feroce remains a large shareholder in Alex and Ani and said he hopes the board will find a CEO as committed to building the company as he was for the past four years.