After almost five years as COO of WSA, Diane Stone said last week she is retiring.
Elyse Kroll, founder and chairwoman of ENK International, which owns WSA, will take the reins of the show temporarily. Kroll and her team are looking for an executive to assume the position on a permanent basis. All other execs based in WSA’s California offices plan to stay on board.
Kroll lauded Stone’s contributions to WSA during her tenure. “She helped give birth and create the show the way it exists today,” Kroll said, adding that Stone’s decision was a surprise. “We’re not happy about it, but I understand her decision. She just felt it was the right time to retire. … So we’re moving forward, and we want WSA to be stronger than ever.”
Stone joined WSA in July 2004, and later helped engineer a management-led buyout of the group, turning it from a non-profit organization into a for-profit venture. In December 2007, she helped sell WSA to ENK.
“My time in the footwear industry has been something I’ve thoroughly and completely enjoyed,” said Stone. “It’s an industry filled with terrific companies, but [more than that], it’s filled with terrific people.”
Stone said she looks forward to spending time with her new grandchildren and “moving on to the next phase of