New Payless Parent Names CEO

Payless ShoeSource officially has a new owner and leader.

Payless Holdings, the company that includes Payless ShoeSource and Collective Licensing International, on Wednesday named W. Paul Jones as CEO of the firm, effective Oct. 22, 2012.

In a statement, executives at Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital, which closed their acquisition of Payless on Tuesday, underscored Jones’ experience with repositioning and reinventing businesses during his tenures at Shopko Stores, where he was most recently chairman, president and CEO; and Sears, where he was VP of general merchandising.

Josh Olshansky, managing director at Golden Gate Capital, said Jones has a proven track record in the value retailing industry, with a deep understanding of budget-conscious consumer habits.

Neale Attenborough, operating partner at Golden Gate Capital, added, “We believe his collaborative leadership style will fit perfectly with Payless’ outstanding management team … [composed of Michael Massey, who had been interim CEO of former parent Collective Brands Inc., and LuAnn Via, president and CEO of Payless ShoeSource, who] have shown exemplary stewardship of the company during the strategic review process.”

Jones said in a statement, “I have had the pleasure of working with Payless for several years through a strategic partnership with Shopko and have a deep appreciation for the power of the Payless brand.”

He added, “Based on the solid foundation and successful value-oriented strategy established by the talented Payless management team, Payless and CLI have numerous opportunities for growth, and I am committed to realizing them with the team’s help.”

A Payless spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that Massey and Via are still with Payless, but it is not known as of press time if their roles will change under the new corporate structure.

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