Collective Taps Payless Prez

NEW YORK — Collective Brands Inc. has tapped LuAnn Via for the role of Payless ShoeSource Inc. president and CEO.

The appointment is effective July 22, Collective Brands Chairman and CEO Matthew Rubel said.

In a written statement Wednesday, the company said Via will succeed Rubel as the head of the Payless business unit. He has served in the position since joining the company in June 2005 and had expanded his role with last year’s acquisition of Collective Licensing International and Stride Rite Corp.

Via will 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.

“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 in the statement. “She has a strong background in trend merchandising, especially in footwear and accessories.”

Since June 2007, Via served as group divisional president of Charming Shoppes’ Lane Bryant and Cacique chains. She also held top positions at various wholesalers and retailers including Sears, Roebuck & Co., Saks, Rich’s division of Federated Department Stores and The Shoe Box/The Shoe Gallery.

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