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Originally published March 19, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Page modified March 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM

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Corrected version

Blue Nile names new CEO

Harvey Kanter will take over on March 30, replacing Diane Irvine, who resigned as CEO in November.

Seattle Times business reporter

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I don't know anything about Kanter, but I've bought from Moosejaw several times. They o... MORE

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Nearly five months after its CEO abruptly resigned, Internet jeweler Blue Nile has found a permanent replacement.

Harvey Kanter, a retail veteran whose previous stints include Eddie Bauer and Michaels Stores, will take over as CEO March 30, Blue Nile said Monday.

Kanter, 50, joins the Seattle-based company from Moosejaw Mountaineering and Backcountry Travel, an outdoor-apparel and gear retailer based in Madison Heights, Mich., where he served three years as CEO and president.

Vijay Talwar, who has led Blue Nile as interim CEO since November, now becomes the general manager and president of its international business.

Talwar filled in as CEO after the abrupt resignation last fall of Diane Irvine, who had been with the company for 12 years. Irvine joined Blue Nile as chief financial officer in 1999 and rose to become CEO in 2008. Blue Nile did not give a reason for her departure.

The Internet retailer has been struggling amid weaker U.S. engagement-ring sales and higher wholesale-diamond prices. Last month, it reported its fourth-quarter profit declined 32 percent to $4.2 million, while sales slid 2.1 percent to $112.3 million. As a result, the company has launched a new campaign to bring in more nonbridal customers.

Blue Nile's stock closed Monday down 10 cents, less than 1 percent, at $33.48 — near the low end of a 52-week trading range that's between $30.32 and $59.14.

Kanter previously was an executive vice president and managing director at arts-and-crafts chain Michaels Stores. From 1995 to 2003, he worked in various management positions at outerwear retailer Eddie Bauer.

Blue Nile did not make him available for an interview Monday.

In a regulatory filing, the company said Kanter will be paid an annual salary of $650,000, plus performance-based bonuses. He also will receive a $100,000 signing bonus, options to buy 154,500 shares of the company's stock, and moving expenses.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

Information in this article, originally published March 19, 2012, was corrected the next day. A previous version of this story said that Vijay Talwar now becomes the company's general manager and president of its international business. He actually become general manager, as well as president, of the international business.

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