Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Kendra Scott steps aside as CEO of her Austin company, remains majority owner

Lori Hawkins
Austin American-Statesman

Austin jewelry entrepreneur Kendra Scott is stepping aside as CEO of her namesake company, but will continue in her role as executive chairwoman.

Scott will also remain as majority owner and will continue to lead Kendra Scott design, customer experience and philanthropy, the company said Monday.

The company said Kendra Scott executive Tom Nolan will assume the CEO position. Nolan has spent the past seven years in leadership roles at Kendra Scott, most recently as president.

Nolan has more than 20 year of management experience in retail and brands, including at Ralph Lauren, Conde Nast and as the founder and CEO of Prospect Brands.

More:Kendra Scott to teach UT course on women entrepreneurs

“During this extraordinary time of retail transformation, there has been no better person to partner with me on building the brand and the business," Scott said in a written statement. "Tom is an experienced executive with a relentless focus on the customer, operational rigor, and strong expertise in digital transformation. With Tom at my side as CEO, I can continue to focus on what I have always seen as the core of the brand — great design, strong philanthropic impact and a continued commitment to our customer.”

Kendra Scott stands outside her company's flagship store on South Congress Avenue in Austin during its grand opening on Nov. 15, 2018. Scott has grown her business into a powerhouse brand sold by retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's and at more than 600 boutiques worldwide.

Scott said that since becoming CEO of the business in 2002, "a part of me always knew the day would come when I was ready to hand that job over to a trusted partner, and allow myself to dream into bigger brand projects and new opportunities."

In 2019, Scott launched the Kendra Scott Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute at the University of Texas and currently serves as a professor of practice.

Nolan joined the Kendra Scott board in 2014 and in 2016 became chief revenue and marketing officer. In 2019 he was named president and worked on expansion initiatives including growing the brand's retail footprint across the country.

 "The retail industry is constantly evolving, and I’m thrilled to continue to work alongside Kendra in this new role to not only provide sustainable value, but also with a shared responsibility to serve our customers and continue to positively impact people’s lives every day through our philanthropy efforts,” Nolan said.

Since launching the jewelry line from a spare bedroom in 2002, Kendra Scott has grown her business into a powerhouse brand sold by retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's and at more than 600 boutiques worldwide.

Listen to the Statesman's news podcast: The best local news, 8 minutes a day 

The company operates 110 standalone stores across the U.S. and has more than 2,000 employees. Kendra Scott is headquartered at the Lamar Central mixed-use development at West 38th Street and North Lamar Boulevard in Austin. 

Kendra Scott's jewelry line includes earrings, necklaces, rings and charms, which are recognizable by their custom shapes and stones. Customers can also customize Kendra Scott jewelry at "Color Bars" in retail stores and online, where they can choose a stone, metal and shape.

The company has also expanded into home decor, including trays, jewelry stands and picture frames.

In 2016, Kendra Scott received an investment from private equity firm Berkshire Partners. Under the deal, Berkshire Partners acquired a significant minority stake in the company.

Kendra Scott did not disclose the size of the investment but said the deal valued the company at $1 billion. Berkshire said Scott would remain majority shareholder.

Scott ranked No. 47 on the Forbes 2020 list of America's self-made women by net worth. Forbes, which said Kendra Scott has annual revenue of about $360 million, estimated Scott's personal net worth at $510 million.

Scott is founder of the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute at the University of Texas and is currently a professor of practice.

.