Caleres CEO Diane Sullivan to retire early next year

Caleres CEO Diane Sullivan to retire early next year


Jay Schmidt (left) and Diane Sullivan – Caleres

The St. Louis-based footwear company said Jay Schmidt, president of Caleres, will succeed Sullivan as chief executive officer, with Sullivan moving to the role of executive chairman. In her new role, the former CEO will continue to lead the Caleres board of directors, as well as partner with Schmidt and the rest of the Caleres leadership team on key strategic initiatives, the company added.

“Diane transformed Caleres from a company that sells shoes to one that builds brands and connects with consumers while at the same time markedly changing the financial performance of the company,” said Ward Klein, lead independent director of Caleres.

“She skillfully evolved the company’s portfolio – leading the acquisition and incubation of numerous brands including Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds and Vionic, all three of which are now lead assets for the company. Notably, the company’s earnings per share climbed steadily increasing six-fold over Diane’s tenure as CEO. The board is delighted that she has agreed to accept the new executive chair role, where she can continue to use her strategic abilities and vast industry knowledge to help lead the company forward.”

Schmidt was named Caleres president in December 2020 and assumed responsibility for consumer and brand strategy for the entire Caleres portfolio, which includes Famous Footwear

Prior to that, he held the position of division president, Caleres brand portfolio. Before joining the company in 2009, Schmidt spent more than 25 years developing his extensive merchandising, portfolio management and brand marketing experience. He spent ten years with Nine WestLord & Taylor

​“I am humbled and excited for the opportunity to lead Caleres and build on the strong foundation that Diane has established,” said Schmidt. “I feel fortunate to have had the privilege to collaborate with Diane as we charted a strategic course for ongoing success. I look forward to working with the entire Caleres team as we leverage our powerful portfolio of brands and our deep knowledge of the consumer to drive further progress across our key strategic initiatives and deliver exceptional value for all our stakeholders.”

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