Leslie Turk

Lein retires, Stuller returns to daily operations

by Leslie Turk

Chuck Lein

Sixty-seven-year-old Chuck Lein is retiring after 15 years as president and COO of Stuller Inc., and company founder and CEO Matt Stuller is stepping back into the daily operations as president.

Jay Jackson, executive vice president of the company's supply chain, will become COO when Lein's retirement is effective Jan. 31. Jackson has more than 13 years of experience managing Stuller's sales, supply chain and manufacturing operations. Prior to joining Stuller, he worked for 30 years in the product services division at Sears. Jackson was promoted to the post after a national executive search. “We need a COO who can roll-up his sleeves and dig into the day-to-day functions of our operation, without the added responsibility of president," Stuller says. "And, we found no one better suited to lead Stuller’s operations than our very own Jay Jackson.”

Jay Jackson

The jewelry manufacturer and distributor has already been impacted by the national recession, having announced a round of layoffs early last year, and there is more uncertainty in what lies ahead. “I’ve agreed to take this on indefinitely as we expect 2009 to be a very challenging year,” Stuller says.

Last year Stuller laid off 45 employees -- 2.5 percent of its workforce of 1,770  -- in a realignment of its management team.

The trade publication JCK reported that among those laid off were Joseph Buttross, Stuller's vice president of diamonds, and Ray Weiland, vice president of manufacturing.

In announcing the cuts, Stuller cited the high cost of precious metal prices and the national economic outlook.

Founded in 1970, Stuller Inc. is headquartered in Lafayette. It has 13 operations located in three continents around the world, and provides a wide range of goods and services for jewelry professionals. Stuller’s core product categories include: diamonds, gemstones, finished jewelry, mountings, findings, bridal jewelry, fabricated metals, tools and supplies.