Virginia “Gina” Coleman Drosos is in the business of reinvention.
In August 2017, Drosos took over as CEO of Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry and parent company of more than a half dozen brands, including Kay Jewelers and Zales. She started Signet’s three-year “Path to Brilliance” transformation plan, which is aimed at making the company more customer-oriented and creating a more agile and efficient culture.
“I knew we needed to transform ourselves in order to redefine what it means to be the jewelry category leader,” says Drosos BBA ’85. “Jewelry is so much about moments, so we’re really focused on innovating not just at the product level but on a broader scale where we can create new moments or reinvigorate existing ones to highlight the power of jewelry to celebrate life and express love.”
Drosos’ path of rebranding didn’t start at Signet, but at her very first internship a year after graduating from UGA at Procter & Gamble (P&G). Her first assignment was representing Spic & Span floor cleaner.
“I literally started at the bottom, the floor of the company,” she laughs.
Through her 25-year tenure at P&G, Drosos worked her way to Group President, Global Beauty Care, modernizing mature brands like Olay, Old Spice, Cover Girl, Secret deodorant, and more.
“We reimagined what Olay could be, from grandma’s pink skincare cream to a global brand,” she says. Under her leadership, Olay grew from a $180 million to a $2.5 billion iconic brand. She even launched an Olay body wash, the first body wash introduced in America.
From P&G, she took her arsenal of entrepreneurial skills to Assurex Health, a personalized medicine startup where she served as president and CEO. She delivered significant revenue growth and executed the strategic sale of the company for up to $410 million.
During the sale, Drosos interviewed for the CEO position at Signet. She had served on the Board of Directors for five years, and with her understanding of consumer product revitalization, she was just what the company needed.
As Signet’s first woman CEO, she’s building a diverse team that represents the consumer.
“If we want to be able to be responsive to customers, we need to be more reflective of who our customer base is and the changing nature of those customers,” she says in reference to the company’s 33,000 employees. “The power of inclusion and diversity helps us to be more agile, efficient, and competitive.”
Crediting UGA as the “quintessential college experience,” Drosos reflects on how she developed personally and professionally as a student.
“The University of Georgia encourages thinking and leading across a broad variety of opportunities,” she says. “You get to hone your academic skills, leadership skills, and social skills, and in business, all three of those things come together.”
For Drosos, the connection to the university didn’t stop with a diploma. She serves on the Terry Dean’s Advisory Council, has spoken at numerous university events, and is on campus every fall Saturday cheering on the Bulldogs with her children, Will and Claire, who are both current UGA students.