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Doug Howe to succeed Roger Rawlins as CEO of Designer Brands

By Prachi Singh


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Image: Designer Brands website

Designer Brands Inc. has announced a planned CEO transition process. The company's board has appointed Doug Howe, president of DSW, to succeed Roger Rawlins as the new chief executive officer, effective April 1, 2023.

After April 1, 2023, the company said, Rawlins will continue to work with the company for a twelve-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. Roger has been at the forefront of Designer Brands' transformation from a shoe retailer to a brand builder," 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 a demonstrated history of driving results in the industry, to CEO," Schottenstein added.

Doug Howe to be the new CEO of Designer Brands Howe, the company added, 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 also has extensive background working across digital retail channels, department stores, and mass retailers. 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.

Commenting on his new role, Howe said: "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."

Prior to Kohl's, Howe 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," said Rawlins.

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

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