NEW YORK — Peter Mangione is leaving his post as president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America after almost three decades.
“I am now 60 years old, and there have been many changes in the industry,” he said. “It really is time for me to move on, and the association can truly benefi t from new energy and leadership.”
Mangione described the decision to leave as “amicable and mutual,” and said that he would assist with the search for a successor alongside FDRA chairman and H.H. Brown CEO Jim Issler.
Mangione said one of the highlights of his tenure was spearheading initiatives to end import quotas in the 1980s.
“Eliminating government intervention in the marketplace made it possible for companies such as Nike, Wal-Mart and Payless ShoeSource to expand their businesses,” he said. Mangione also helped facilitate trade agreements with Brazil and fought to have China admitted to the World Trade Organization.
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In more recent years, he has crusaded in Congress against import tariffs, and this year, lobbied for the Affordable Footwear Act.
In addition to working for the health of the footwear industry, Mangione has also forged close personal relationships over the years. “By far, the high point has been the fabulous people I’ve worked with and befriended,” he said. “Cam Anderson, founder of Foot Locker; Shaol Pozez, founder of Payless; and Bob Kuhn, founder of Meldisco, hired me and were my mentors in the early days.”
After helping FDRA transition in its new president, Mangione plans to take some time off from the footwear industry, but he made it clear that he is far from retiring. “I do plan to continue to be active in ways where I can make a contribution,” he said.