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TOPEKA, Kan., July 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Payless ShoeSource, Inc. (NYSE: PSS - News) has completed its previously announced senior management succession. Matthew E. Rubel has been elected Chief Executive Officer and President of the company, effective today. Mr. Rubel was also elected to the company's Board of Directors. Howard R. Fricke has been elected Chairman of the Board. This is consistent with the company's previously announced decision to name a Non-Executive Chairman of the Board. Steven J. Douglass has resigned from the Board of Directors and from his positions as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Mr. Rubel, 47, was Chairman and CEO of Cole Haan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc. from February 1999 to July 2005. Prior to joining Cole Haan, Mr. Rubel was Executive Vice President, J. Crew Group and CEO of Popular Club Plan from 1994 to 1999, and in November 1998, led the sale of Popular from J. Crew to Fingerhut. While at J. Crew Group, Mr. Rubel was responsible for all licensing and international activities, as well as brand marketing and served on its Group Executive Committee. Mr. Rubel has also served as President and CEO of Pepe Jeans USA. and President of the Specialty Division of Revlon. Mr. Rubel has a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University and an MBA from the University of Miami (Florida).

This company has a lot of problems including the potential that consumer spending may be slowing as higher interest rates and record gas prices take a bite out of consumer spending power. The folks that do have money may not end up spending it at Payless ShoeSource. So there is definitely a waek operating history combined with a less than optimal overall economic environment going forward.

This company continues to struggle to create same-store-sales (SSS) increases, so I am hoping that the new CEO will be able to work some magic here!

JT :-)
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