Footwear company Designer Brands announced Thursday that it has named Doug Howe, president of DSW, as its CEO, effective April 1. 

Current CEO Roger Rawlins will step down from the chief role and as a member of the company’s board of directors. Rawlins will continue to work with Designer Brands as a strategic advisor for one year to ensure a smooth leadership transition. 

Howe joined Designer Brands in May 2022. He previously worked as Kohl’s chief merchandising officer for four years, where he was responsible for buying, planning, product design and development, sourcing and merchandising efforts. 

Howe also was the global chief merchandising officer at Qurate Retail Group and held leadership roles at Gap Inc. and Walmart. 

The CEO transition is a result of Designer Brands’ long-term succession planning, according to the company.

Rawlins has been CEO of the company since January 2016. Prior to that role, he held a number of positions within Designer Brands including president of DSW, chief innovation officer, executive vice president of omnichannel and senior vice president and general manager of DSW.com. 

“Roger has been at the forefront of Designer Brands’ transformation from a shoe retailer to a brand builder,” Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman of Designer Brands’ board of directors, said in a statement. From launching DSW.com, which now accounts for over $1 billion in demand, to leading the acquisition of our Canadian operations and integrating a world-class design, sourcing and wholesale business, Roger has been instrumental in leading Designer Brands and has set us up for success in achieving our long-range plan.” 

Rawlins, Howe and other leadership are conducting a search to identify the next president of DSW. 

Designer Brands owns DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, Camuto Group, The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse.


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