DALLAS-In an example of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, Neal Goldberg has resigned his president post at the Children’s Place and has been named president and CEO of jewelry company Zale Corp. Both companies have struggled in the past 12 months, dropping in sales and stock price, with Zale hitting a 52-year low of $15.28 per share on the day of Goldberg’s first day.

Goldberg, 48, will also be a member of the Zale board of directors. He has 27 years of experience at companies such as Macy’s Victoria’s Secret and Gap Inc. Betsy Burton, who has served a short term as CEO since being promoted from director in February 2006, will advise the company in a two-year consulting agreement.

“I believe Neal is ideally suited to lead at this time,” said Zale chairman Jack Lowe in a conference call Wednesday. “He’s proven to be a strong merchant and a skilled operator.”

Chuck Crovitz, interim CEO for the Children’s Place, will directly oversee the responsibilities and management team until a permanent replacement is named. The children’s apparel retailer is not providing full comparative financial results until it can become current with SEC reporting, but admitted at its third quarter report that net income and operating profit dropped significantly. Problems have hit the company in missed deadlines to renovate Disney Stores, and top executive violations. The company, which had a high stock point of $66.38 in the past year, had an ending stock price of $27.06 Wednesday. The company owns 911 Children’s Place stores and 330 Disney Stores.

Zale has had its own troubles, losing top executives and reporting a $28.4 million loss in its first quarter, which ended Oct. 31. Goldberg said during the call that the company will now focus on core mall performance, increasing gross margins and returns on capital. “We have a number of challenges ahead,” Goldberg said. “Every objective will focus on generate value for shareholders.” The company’s stock has dropped since its one-year high in February of $30.15 per share. Zale has about 2,200 retail locations in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, with brands such as Zales Jewelers, Gordon’s Jewelers and Piercing Pagoda.

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