NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. chief operating officer Joel Newman is stepping down after a year and a half at the company.

This story first appeared in the July 23, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Newman will stay on as a nonexclusive consultant “to provide many of the same services he provided before” for two years, a company spokeswoman said. His replacement hasn’t been named.

Before joining Kenneth Cole in February 2006, Newman held the same post at Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A. Inc. for 12 years, and was executive vice president of finance and operations at Tommy Hilfiger Corp. Newman previously served as president and chief operating officer of Kohl’s Department Stores, and spent 16 years at Saks Fifth Avenue and its parent, Batus Retail. He was president of Calvin Klein Industries during the integration of the Puritan Fashions acquisition.

The company, which has been working to elevate the status of its brands, also lost Kenneth Cole New York brand president Joshua Schulman to the top job at Jimmy Choo in April.