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Debbie Ferrée, William Jordan Step Into New Roles at Designer Brands

With an ongoing focus on its omnichannel retail strategies, Designer Brands Inc. added new titles for two of its top executives.

The company said today it tapped William Jordan as president, a title he will hold in addition to his role as chief growth officer. Vice Chairman Debbie Ferrée officially adds president of the Camuto Group division to her responsibilities. Both appointments go into place immediately.

Ferrée, who had been president of Designer Brands, has been steering Camuto as president on an interim basis since last August. In her permanent role, she will focus on growing brands and further integrating Camuto Group into the parent company. An emphasis on growing labels that are exclusive to DSW, such as JLO Jennifer Lopez, Kelly & Katie and Crown Vintage — and its owned brands like Vince Camuto, — will be Ferrée’s mandate.

Designer Brands said Tuesday that its owned brands “have gained strength in recent quarters and represented 15 of the top 25 selling items at DSW in first quarter of 2021.”

In October 2018, Camuto Group announced the acquisition deal with Authentic Brands Group LLC and DSW Inc., whereby ABG partnered with DSW to acquire the intellectual property of Camuto Group’s brands in a $375 million deal.

In his new role, Jordan, who was named chief growth officer in February 2020, will lead the company’s shared services functions, which includes human resources and information technology. He will also oversee enhancement of the company’s speed to market capabilities by heading up the sourcing and supply chain of Camuto Group as it continues to be integrated into Designer Brands.

“We have tremendous confidence in Debbie and Bill’s proven leadership, as evidenced by their navigation of a rapidly changing retail landscape, and by the trust earned from our associates. Today’s announcements signal commitment to our strategy as we grow customer loyalty and deliver successive improvement,” Roger Rawlins, CEO of Designer Brands, said in a statement.

In the latest quarter, Designer Brands returned to profitability thanks to sales strength in athleisure, kids and seasonal products. Revenues rose to $703.2 million, up 45.6%, while same-store sales skyrocketed 52.2%.

“Designer Brands continues to stay ahead of retail consumer and fashion trends, as evidenced by our ongoing improving financial performance,” said Rawlins. “To maintain this competitive advantage, we need the right leaders to guide us in evaluating and identifying ways to enhance our organizational structure, including the ongoing integration of Camuto Group to unlock greater value for the enterprise. This ensures that we will continue meeting customers’ needs both in stores and online, as our business recovers and we make the necessary investments to build a stronger foundation for the future.”

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