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9/21/17 | Austin | In Conversation with Theo Killion, Former CEO Zale Corp.

September 21, 2017
Austin, TX

Member Price: Complimentary
Non-Member Price: $75



Turning around a 90-year old company on the verge of bankruptcy is no small feat. By making the tough decisions, digging into the company’s history, putting the customer first and building a strong culture that “changed the conversation,” Mr. Killion turned Zale Corporation into a once-again thriving business. Many of the same principles and practices apply to taking companies from early stage to maturity. Theo discussed how boards and CEOs can work together to maintain a strong company culture and focus on the customer while achieving growth and scale.


To view the presentation in its entirety, click HERE


You can also read the BLOG by Jill Griffin on 10 Turnaround Lessons from Zale Corp.'s Theo Killion


Learn more about Theo Killion’s turnaround of Zale Corporation HERE


A letter to directors that William McNabb from Vanguard wrote, which Theo referenced in the program can be found by clicking HERE to access.


After the program, attendees gathered for additional networking, complete with cocktails and appetizers. 

Location and Time


JW Marriott Austin
110 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

5:00 pm – Checkin and Reception

5:30 pm – Seating and Program Introductions

5:55 pm – Speaker Opening Comments and Moderated Q&A

7:00 pm – 8:00pm -  Cocktail Reception


  Key Takeaway

Speaker Spotlight


Theo Killion

Former Chief Executive Officer, Zale Corporation
Director, Tailored Brands, A Better Chance

Theo Killion was the Chief Executive Officer of the Zale Corporation from September 2010 until his retirement in July 2014 and prior thereto he held a variety of other positions with Zale including Interim Chief Executive Officer, President and Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Legal and Corporate Strategy. In addition to Zale, during his 40 year career, he has worked in a variety of senior human resources and operating roles for leading retailers including Tommy Hilfiger, L Brands, The Home Shopping Network and Macys.

Since leaving Zale in 2014, he has worked as Vice Chairman of Herbert Mines, an executive search firm and is currently a Managing Partner of The Sierra Institute, a Dallas-based human resources consortium.

He has been a Board member of the Zale Corporation, Express, Inc, and Libbey, Inc., serving on the Nominating and Governance Committees and on the Audit Committee. He is currently a Director of Tailored Brands and non profit A Better Chance. He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and a member of the Union League Club of Chicago.

Theo holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and English and a Masters of Education degree from Tufts University. He is married, has four children and three grandchildren.

Melissa Fruge, Moderator

Chief Legal Officer, Spredfast
Association of Corporate Counsel and Austin Technology Council

Melissa Fruge joined Spredfast as its Chief Legal Officer in March 2016. She is responsible for all legal matters worldwide affecting the company. From August 2009 to February 2016 she served as the SVP, General Counsel & Secretary of HomeAway, the leading marketplace for online vacation rentals, which was purchased by Expedia. From 2006 to 2009, she was VP and General Counsel of Borland, which was bought by Microfocus. Prior to Borland, she practiced corporate law with DLA Piper.

In all of her roles, Melissa has worked closely with senior management and the Board of Directors to advise on key strategic matters covering corporate, intellectual property, privacy, e-commerce, employment, regulatory and other key issues.

She earned her J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law and her B.A. at the University of Southern California.



Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Texas TriCities Chapter 5773 Woodway Dr, Box 258, Houston, TX, 77057 phone: 832-369-7110 email: