Jan 6, 2023
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Doug Howe named CEO of Designer Brands, Roger Rawlins to step down

Jan 6, 2023

Footwear company Designer Brands Inc. announced on Thursday that DSW president Doug Howe is set to succeed Roger Rawlins as the company's chief executive officer, this spring. 

Doug Howe Named CEO of Designer Brands, Roger Rawlins to step down. - DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse

Effective April 1, 2023, Rawlins will step down as chief executive officer and as a member of the board of directors. As part of the transition, Rawlins will work with the company for a twelve-month period in a strategic advisor role. Management is expected to conduct a comprehensive search to identify the next president of DSW.

"Roger has been at the forefront of Designer Brands' transformation from a shoe retailer to a brand builder. From launching DSW.com, 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,” said Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman of Designer Brands' board of directors. 

“As a result of a comprehensive succession plan, we are pleased to appoint Doug, a strategic thinker with 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, who joined the company in May 2022, after four years as chief merchandising officer at Kohl's, has more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry with deep experience in vertical brand and direct-to-consumer growth. 

At Kohl’s, he was responsible for buying, planning, product design and development, sourcing, and merchandising transformation efforts. Prior to Kohl's, he was the global chief merchandising officer at Qurate Retail Group. 

Howe also held leadership roles at Gap Inc. including product design and development of vertical brands, various merchandise leadership roles at Walmart, including SVP of product development, strategy, design and development, and several senior merchandising positions at May Department Stores.

"I am honored to lead such a visionary team at Designer Brands, and I greatly appreciate the support of Roger, the executive leadership team and the board," said Howe. "I am focused on continuing to execute on the long-range plan the team laid out at our 2022 Investor Day to double the sales of our owned brands and maintain the sales of our national brands, all while delivering with incredible speed and quality. I look forward to continuing to work with the leadership team, the board, and our associates to further our strategy and grow even stronger as an organization."

The company also reiterated its fiscal 2022 financial guidance including a comparable sales growth in the mid-single digits and diluted EPS of $1.75 to $1.80.

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