39 min

1,002: Transforming Retail: A Strategic Journey | Joan Hilson, CFO, Signet Jewelers CFO THOUGHT LEADER

    • Careers

When David's Bridal, a New York City staple, filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Joan Hilson was at the helm as CFO. The experience was a crucible, teaching her invaluable lessons about crisis management and strategic pivoting. "Navigating the bankruptcy of David's Bridal forced me to re-evaluate our strategies and become more resilient," Hilson recalls. This challenging period honed her ability to steer a company through turbulent times, a skill that she would carry forward into her role at Signet Jewelers.
Hilson's journey toward becoming a strategic leader was shaped by a series of diverse roles across the retail sector. Starting her career at Sterling Jewelers in the mid-1980s, she climbed through the ranks to become the company's first female vice president. Her subsequent tenures at Limited Brands and American Eagle Outfitters provided her with a broad perspective on retail operations and financial management​.
At Signet, Hilson's strategic mindset has become evident in her emphasis on innovation and digital transformation. Along the way, she has helped the company to navigate the pandemic and championed significant investments in digital capabilities, ensuring that the company remains competitive in an increasingly online world. "Our goal is to offer connected commerce, allowing customers to interact with us whenever and wherever they choose," she explains​.
Hilson's focus on team development has proved to be another cornerstone of her leadership philosophy. She believes in nurturing talent and creating opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally. "Growing my team and helping them to evolve is as important as achieving our financial targets," she is quick to observe.​
Joan Hilson’s journey reflects a blend of resilience, strategic foresight, and commitment to innovation—qualities that continue to drive Signet Jewelers forward in a very competitive market.

When David's Bridal, a New York City staple, filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Joan Hilson was at the helm as CFO. The experience was a crucible, teaching her invaluable lessons about crisis management and strategic pivoting. "Navigating the bankruptcy of David's Bridal forced me to re-evaluate our strategies and become more resilient," Hilson recalls. This challenging period honed her ability to steer a company through turbulent times, a skill that she would carry forward into her role at Signet Jewelers.
Hilson's journey toward becoming a strategic leader was shaped by a series of diverse roles across the retail sector. Starting her career at Sterling Jewelers in the mid-1980s, she climbed through the ranks to become the company's first female vice president. Her subsequent tenures at Limited Brands and American Eagle Outfitters provided her with a broad perspective on retail operations and financial management​.
At Signet, Hilson's strategic mindset has become evident in her emphasis on innovation and digital transformation. Along the way, she has helped the company to navigate the pandemic and championed significant investments in digital capabilities, ensuring that the company remains competitive in an increasingly online world. "Our goal is to offer connected commerce, allowing customers to interact with us whenever and wherever they choose," she explains​.
Hilson's focus on team development has proved to be another cornerstone of her leadership philosophy. She believes in nurturing talent and creating opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally. "Growing my team and helping them to evolve is as important as achieving our financial targets," she is quick to observe.​
Joan Hilson’s journey reflects a blend of resilience, strategic foresight, and commitment to innovation—qualities that continue to drive Signet Jewelers forward in a very competitive market.

39 min

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