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DSW Parent Lays Out CEO Transition Plan, Reiterates Outlook

DSW Parent Lays Out CEO Transition Plan, Reiterates Outlook

Designer Brands, Inc., parent company of DSW and Topo Athletic, hired Doug Howe, president of DSW, pictured above, to succeed Roger Rawlins as CEO, effective April 1, 2023, at which time Rawlins will step down as CEO and as a member of its board of directors.

Rawlins will continue to work with the company for a twelve-month period in a strategic advisory role. This transition is the result of the board of directors’ long-term succession planning with respect to the CEO role.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Roger for his leadership and unparalleled commitment to Designer Brands over the past 17 years,” said Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman, Designer Brands’ board of directors. “Roger has been at the forefront of Designer Brands’ transformation from a shoe retailer to a brand builder. From launching, which now accounts for over $1 billion in demand, to leading the acquisition of our Canadian operations and integrating a world-class design, sourcing and wholesale business. Roger has been instrumental in leading Designer Brands and has set us up for success in achieving our long-range plan. As a result of a comprehensive succession plan, we are pleased to appoint Doug, a strategic thinker with a demonstrated history of driving results in the industry, to CEO. His experience across brand building, including merchandising, marketing, design, development, and planning give him the expertise needed to lead this next phase of Designer Brand’s growth. The Board is looking forward to continuing this brand-building journey with Doug’s leadership, and we are very excited for this next chapter.”

Howe has more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry and in vertical brand and direct-to-consumer growth. He currently serves as president of DSW and EVP of Designer Brands. Howe also has extensive background working across digital retail channels, department stores and mass retailers. He joined the company in 2022, after four years as chief merchandising officer at Kohl’s, where he was responsible for buying, planning, product design and development, sourcing, and merchandising transformation efforts. Before Kohl’s, he was the global chief merchandising officer at Qurate Retail Group, leading QVC’s and HSN’s product leadership agenda by identifying emerging trends and white space for growth, building brands through their discovery, introduction and cultivation, developing category strategies, and attracting top vendors. He also held leadership roles at Gap, Inc. including product design and development of vertical brands. He had various merchandise leadership roles at Walmart, including SVP of product development, strategy, design and development, and several senior merchandising positions at May Department Stores.

With Howe and Rawlin’s guidance, management will conduct a comprehensive search to identify the next president of DSW.

On January 5, 2023, Designer Brands, In.c reiterated its fiscal 2022 financial guidance its provided in connection with the third quarter 2022 financial results for the full 2022 fiscal year that called for mid-single-digit comparable sales growth and diluted EPS $1.75 to $1.80 per share range.