Joel Oblonsky Exiting Ralph Lauren After 10 Years

After nearly a decade of helming the footwear and accessories category at Ralph Lauren, Joel Oblonsky is bidding farewell to the label.

In an email message to several of his industry peers, Ralph Lauren’s footwear and accessories president announced today that he tendered his resignation to pursue other interests.

In a follow-up phone conversation with Footwear News this afternoon, Oblonsky — who spent time at Easy Spirit, Bandolino and Nina Footwear during his extensive shoe industry career — said he is currently weighing a few different career opportunities and “will be in a position to articulate where I land in early to mid-October.”

I turned 50 this year, and I’m taking stock in what I’d like to do. It’s been a great 10-year run — and I think I have another 10- to 12-year run left in me, and I’d just like to try something new,” Oblonsky said.

Oblonsky added that he’d like his next position to be at a label that is “hyperfocused” on the footwear and accessories category.

Lifestyle brands are great, but there are brands where footwear and accessories are the lead categories, and I think [a brand like that] would really invigorate my passion and zeal for the business,” he noted.

Oblonsky’s departure comes after a wave of executive changes at the label. In November, brand founder Ralph Lauren shed his CEO title and tapped former Old Navy global president Stefan Larsson for the slot. Since then, the company has named former Coach Inc. financial chief Jane Nielsen its new CFO and promoted Valérie Hermann, former global brand president of Ralph Lauren luxury collections, to global brand president, luxury, women’s collections.

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