By  on June 15, 2011

Matthew Rubel’s nearly six-year tenure as chief executive officer of Collective Brands Inc. came to an abrupt end Wednesday.

The company, which changed its name from Payless ShoeSource to reflect its changing business model in 2007, said that Rubel had resigned as chairman, ceo and a director of the firm. Michael Massey, a 15-year veteran of the company who was most recently senior vice president and general counsel, was named interim ceo. D. Scott Olivet, a director for five years and the former ceo of Oakley Inc., was appointed non-executive chairman.

Rubel spearheaded the company’s acquisition of Collective International in 2007, paving the way for its expansion into brand management and licensing, as well as the purchase of Stride Rite and its name change that same year.

The moves failed to produce the desired results. In the first quarter ended April 30, sales fell 1.1 percent to $869 million, net income was down 27.8 percent, below analysts’ consensus, and operating margins dropped in all four of its business units. Same-store sales at Payless domestic stores were off 8.3 percent in the quarter while its operating profit shrank 73.6 percent.

Rubel attributed the disappointing performance to “increasingly unfavorable economic conditions affecting mass market consumers as well as unseasonably cold weather” but said the second quarter was “off to a better start.”


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