By  on May 29, 2007

Cole Haan is beefing up its design and merchandising teams, after its creative director and executive vice president, Gordon Thompson, stepped back from his full-time position earlier this month to pursue a consulting role within the firm.

Tracy Smith has been named chief merchandising officer, a new post. Smith was vice president of merchandising for footwear. He will be based at the company's marketing headquarters in New York, reporting to chief executive officer James Seuss, and also will serve on the firm's executive committee.

"Tracy brings with him an incredible depth of experience in our product categories," Seuss said in a statement. "He has been a fundamental part of the Cole Haan family for the past 12 years. This is a key position in unifying our point of view across all product types as well as continuing to build a world-class design organization."

Paul Overfield, the firm's new design director who started last month, will report to Smith. Overfield has a background in luxury accessories with stints at Gucci, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta.

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