Get to Know Bill Brace, President of Kay Jewelers

Active role: The executive on his career path, the supremacy of the consumer, and skiing in Montana.

April 3, 2023  |  Rachael Taylor

What was your first job in the industry?

Executive general manager for Jared and [parent company] Signet Jewelers’ chief marketing officer (dual role) in 2018.

Why jewelry?

Our purpose is to inspire love, and our business is helping people symbolize their most meaningful relationships and celebrate the most meaningful moments in their lives. It doesn’t get any better.

How did you get to where you are today?

Before coming to Signet, I started my career and spent nearly 30 years at Procter & Gamble. My undergraduate degree was in electrical engineering, so my first years were in supply-chain roles. After getting my MBA, I switched into marketing and ultimately held several general management roles in Europe and North America, primarily for beauty businesses and brands like Olay, Old Spice, Oral-B, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci fragrances.

How do you feel about your new appointment as Kay president?

Excited and optimistic.

Where is home for you?

Cleveland, Ohio — and Montana whenever I can get away.

Tell us what you love.

Spending time with my family and being active. My wife Karen and I have been married for 28 years and have three boys, ages 19, 17 and 16. We escape to Montana, where we both grew up, and spend our free time skiing and snowmobiling in winter, and hiking, biking, golfing and fly-fishing in summer.

What was the last thing you watched on Netflix?

Drive to Survive, a documentary about Formula 1 racing. I’ve always loved adrenaline, competition and cars, and this show packages them all nicely in a very entertaining manner.

Do you have a professional mantra?

“The consumer is the boss.” It’s a reminder to focus on deeply understanding what the customer wants before building all your strategies, and to spend time creating solutions, products and experiences that deliver for them better than everyone else. It is one of the fundamental strategies that has underpinned the transformation of Signet over the past five years.

What is the biggest lesson life or work has taught you?

How about the key lesson that bridges both? Balance. Over the course of my career, some of the most successful professionals I’ve worked with were incredibly successful in their personal lives. It’s easier said than done, but they do it by relentlessly focusing on the priorities that make a difference and are able to set boundaries at work that allow them time to spend quality time at home with the people and activities they love.

Is there anyone you look up to professionally?

I have been fortunate to work with some incredible leaders over the course of my career. [Signet CEO] Gina Drosos is obviously one. Michael Kuremsky [former vice president of Procter & Gamble] and Patrice Louvet [former Procter & Gamble president, now CEO of Ralph Lauren] are other standouts. I apply leadership lessons I learned from them every day and do my best to create the same kind of incredibly positive impact they had on me for the people on my team at Signet.

Image: Bill Brace; Glacier National Park in Montana. (Kay Jewelers; Markspursuit/Shutterstock)


Get to Know Bill Brace, President of Kay Jewelers

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