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Designer Brands Announces CEO Transition Plan

Designer Brands Inc., parent company of DSW, has appointed Doug Howe, president of DSW, to succeed Roger Rawlins as the company’s CEO, effective Apr. 1, 2023, at which time Rawlins will step down as CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors. Rawlins will continue to work with the company for a 12 month period in a Strategic Advisor role to facilitate a seamless leadership transition.

“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,” states Jay Schottenstein, Executive Chairman of 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 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.” Schottenstein adds, “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 Brands’ 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.”

“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,” states 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.”

Howe has more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry with deep experience in vertical brand and direct-to-consumer growth, and currently serves as president of DSW and executive vice president of Designer Brands. Howe joined the company in May 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. Prior to 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 spaces for growth, building brands through their discovery, introduction and cultivation, developing category strategies, and attracting top vendors. 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.

“It has been a privilege to lead Designer Brands on its journey to becoming a brand builder, and I am confident in Doug’s experience, leadership and commitment to continue that path,” Rawlins says. “After 17 years with this organization and seven years as CEO, I am proud of the company we have built, pleased with our accomplishments, and humbled by the fantastic team with whom I‘ve had the honor of working.”

The February 2023 Issue

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