New Division Exec Joins Payless

Collective Brands Inc. has a new divisional SVP of Payless product development.

Michael McBreen, previously president of the global operations group at Wolverine World Wide Inc., started at Collective earlier this week, according to an internal company memo dated Sept. 20.

Speaking to Footwear News at WWD’s Global Sourcing & Global Markets Forum on Friday, McBreen said he was approached by the company and accepted the role because of “the excitement of the connection not only to the branded groups they have, with Saucony, Sperry Top-Sider and Stride Rite, but also their specialty in the value market with the Payless brand.”

He added, “It was very difficult to leave Wolverine, which is a great company with great brands and great people, but this was a great opportunity.”

McBreen, now in the process of relocating to Topeka, Kan., has been with Wolverine since June 2008.

The exec shrugged off Collective’s announcement last month it would “conduct a review of strategic and financial alternatives to further enhance shareholder value,” adopting a short-duration rights plan to protect shareholder rights in the interim, as a sign of instability at the firm.

“It’s a natural part of the progression of an organization. I’m just excited to be there,” he said.

As part of his presentation on Opportunities & Challenges in Global Markets, McBreen said macroeconomic factors, combined with structural changes in the global economy, will drive acceleration of global market opportunities for U.S. companies.