NEW BALANCE HEAD STEPS DOWN: Jim Davis, who bought New Balance 35 years ago, will resign as chief executive officer of the nearly $1.6 billion activewear firm on April 30 to make way for a new leader from outside the company. Davis, 62, will stay as chairman of the family-owned firm, but will cede the ceo post to Robert T. DeMartini, 45, who has more than 22 years of experience in the consumer products industry. Most recently vice president in the consumer products division at Tyson Foods Inc., DeMartini has held positions at Procter & Gamble Co. and Gillette Co. Davis' wife, Anne Davis, will remain vice chairman, and the couple will be "very involved in the company," according to a New Balance spokeswoman. The Davis family bought the company when it turned out 30 pairs of shoes a day. It is now ranked at number 488 on the Forbes' list of the world's richest people, with an estimated wealth of $2 billion.

KELLWOOD PROMOTES CONTROLLER: Kellwood Co. has promoted Daniel L. Karpel to vice president controller. Karpel joined Kellwood in January 2006 as controller. Before that, he was director of planning and financial analysis at Spartech Corp., and during his 14-year career, he also has worked at NuVox Communications Inc. and Ernst & Young. Based in St. Louis, Karpel reports to Greg Kleffner, Kellwood senior vice president finance and controller.

OUTSOURCED WEB STORE: Kenneth Cole has signed a multimillion-dollar, five-year agreement with Accretive Commerce to handle hosting, technology, customer service and fulfillment for its online store. "The e-commerce channel represents a major growth area for our company," said Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief executive officer of Kenneth Cole Productions, in a statement. The company hopes to improve customer service and conversion rates with the new service. Accretive Commerce, based in Charlotte, N.C., also runs Web stores for American Eagle Outfitters, Restoration Hardware and Godiva.

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