Rubel Steps Down at Collective

Rubel Steps Down at Collective
Matt Rubel

Change is brewing at Collective Brands Inc.

The Topeka, Kan.-based company said Wednesday that Matthew Rubel has resigned as chairman, president and CEO. Michael Massey, the firm’s SVP, general counsel and secretary, has been named interim CEO. D. Scott Olivet, a member of the board and former CEO of Oakley Inc., has been appointed non-executive chairman.

Additionally, Collective has promoted LuAnn Via, president and CEO of Payless ShoeSource; Gregg Ribatt, president and CEO of the Performance & Lifestyle Group; and Bruce Pettet, head of Collective Licensing, to its executive committee, effective immediately.

“I am proud of our accomplishments at Collective Brands,” Rubel said in a written statement. “We have built a talented management team, improved our brand presence at Payless, expanded the company globally and diversified into new consumer segments and channels with great brands like Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Keds and Stride Rite. I wish the company and its employees all the best as I pursue a new chapter in my career.”

Rubel will remain available to assist the board, and a committee has started looking for a permanent replacement.

 

Execs and analysts reached Wednesday evening were positive about Rubel’s contribution to the company.

 

“I think Matt came into Payless and really helped turn around the business and [he] also diversified it with the Stride Rite acquisition,” said Financo Chairman Gilbert Harrison. “He transformed the company. He did some right things at the right time.”

 

Bob Campbell, founder and CEO of BBC International, was surprised by the news. “Matt Rubel is a great executive in my opinion. He’s a friend. It’s a shock,” he said. “I know he’s had some tough times, but it will be hard to replace him. It will take a top star to turn that company around.”

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