By  on August 7, 2009

Paul Rosengard exited his position as group president of Perry Ellis and premium brands at Perry Ellis International with a nearly $287,000 severance package and the goal of finding a position as a chief executive officer.

His severance package includes a lump sum payment of $262,500, in addition to $24,230 for unused vacation days. The details were outlined Thursday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Rosengard is also prohibited from working for a number of Perry Ellis’s key competitors for a period of six months, although PEI can choose not to enforce that covenant. His last day was Wednesday, according to a company spokesman.

Reached by phone, Rosengard said he was exiting PEI in order to seek a ceo position. “I’m leaving to pursue my ambition to run a company,” he said.

Oscar Feldenkreis, president and chief operating officer of PEI, told WWD Rosengard’s departure was unexpected but mutually agreed upon. “It’s like a marriage: One day you’re happy and one day you’re not,” he said. “We are still very good friends. I’ve had a relationship with Paul for over 30 years, since I first got into this business.”

Feldenkreis has a reputation as a hands-on manager, which may have limited Rosengard’s autonomy and latitude in his position, which included oversight of the Perry Ellis, Axis and Tricots St. Raphael brands. Earlier this year, PEI relegated distribution of the Tricots and Axis brands to about 300 department store doors, eliminating specialty store distribution, which proved unprofitable for the brands.

Perry Ellis has started a search to find a successor to Rosengard. In the meantime, Shawna Smith-Hogan, executive vice president of sales for Perry Ellis Collection, has assumed Rosengard’s duties.

Feldenkreis noted Rosengard was instrumental in guiding Perry Ellis through the period when Macy’s Inc., then Federated Department Stores Inc., was absorbing its May Department Stores acquisition, which impacted big men’s wear brands like Perry Ellis. “Paul did a great job during that transition. He had a tremendous amount of relationships and friends in the business, and that was very beneficial during the entire process,” said Feldenkreis.

Rosengard joined Perry Ellis in 2005, following an 18-year career at Randa Corp. He is a widely known figure in the men’s wear industry, having served as president and chairman of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, where he is chairman emeritus.

Net income at PEI for the three months ended May 2 decreased 36.3 percent to $5.8 million, as net sales dipped 10 percent to $214 million.

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