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Payless ShoeSource gets new Chief

Jul '08
Collective Brands Inc announced that it has named LuAnn Via, most recently group divisional president of Charming Shoppes' Lane Bryant and Cacique retail chains, as president and chief executive officer of Payless ShoeSource Inc, reporting to Matthew Rubel, chairman and chief executive officer of Collective Brands Inc.

Via succeeds Rubel as the leader of the Payless business unit, who has served in the role since joining the company in June 2005.

Rubel has significantly expanded his role with last year's acquisition of Collective Licensing International and The Stride Rite Corporation, which together with Payless ShoeSource, formed Collective Brands, Inc.

Via will begin at Payless later this month and be responsible for leading all day-to-day operations of the retail unit, including merchandising, marketing and retail operations for the more than 4,500 store chain, which includes stores in the United States, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

Via and her team also are directly supported by shared Collective Brands Inc corporate functions, including finance, information technology, human resources, store development, law and the global supply chain team, which includes the New York Design Center, a group of footwear and accessories designers that create the seasonal collections for Payless.

"We are thrilled to have LuAnn join our executive team in the critical role as president and CEO of Payless ShoeSource the largest business unit in our company," said Rubel.

"She has a strong background in trend merchandising, especially in footwear and accessories. LuAnn is a well grounded and seasoned retail executive who has proven success as a leader of both large department stores and specialty chains.

We look forward to her valuable contributions to the Payless team to continue our path and strategy to democratize fashion in footwear and accessories and build a House of Brands retailer well known for inspiring fun fashion possibilities for the family."

Most recently, since June 2007, Via served as group divisional president of Charming Shoppes' Lane Bryant and Cacique chains. Just prior, from January 2006 to June 2007, she served as president of Charming Shoppes' Catherine Stores.

She worked at Sears, Roebuck and Company from 2003 to 2006, serving as vice president and general merchandising manager for the retailer's footwear, accessories, fine jewelry and intimate apparel business.

She served as senior vice president, general merchandising product development from 1998 to 2003 at Saks, Incorporated, where she was responsible for the product development of the stores' private brands.

From 1992 to 1998 she served as executive vice president at Trade Am International, managing its handbag business; from 1990 to 1992 Via was senior vice president and general merchandising manager at The Shoe Box/The Shoe Gallery; and from 1985 to 1990 she was at Rich's Division of Federated Department Stores first as a handbag buyer and, beginning in 1988, as divisional vice president and merchandise manager for accessories.

Via began her career in 1974 as an assistant dress buyer at Adam, Meldrum and Anderson Company.

Collective Brands Inc

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