Zale Cleared by SEC; Names New CFO

After investigating the timing of vendor payments, the SEC will take no enforcement action against the jewelry retailer, which has hired PETCO's CFO to take over as its finance chief.

Zale Corp. Sunday said the Securities and Exchange Commission has ended a probe of the jewelry retailer and that no enforcement action was recommended.

The company announced back in April that the regulator was investigating the timing of certain vendor payments, as well as other matters including accounting for extended service agreements, leases, and accrued payroll; executive compensation and severance; earnings guidance; and stock trading.

In May, Zale put senior vice president and chief financial officer Mark Lenz on administrative leave, alleging he had failed to disclose a delay in payments to vendors in a timely manner. At the time, the company named George Mihalko acting chief financial officer, acting chief administrative officer, and a member of the board of directors.

In a separate announcement on Monday, Zale said it hired Rodney Carter as group senior vice president and CFO. Carter will start at Zale on October 16.

Carter, who will report to president and CEO Betsy Burton, is currently senior vice president and CFO of PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc., a specialty retailer with over 800 stores. Carter will resign formally from PETCO on Oct. 12.

Carter has over 23 years of financial experience in the retail, restaurant/entertainment and financial services industries.

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