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.”


The company said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Rubel will receive a cash payment of about $6.8 million during the second quarter in connection with his resignation. The company expects to recognize approximately $3.2 million in non-cash expenses related to the accelerated vesting of certain equity awards during the quarter as a result.


Shares of Collective closed at $14 Wednesday, down 2.9 percent, and have contracted 23.8 percent since first-quarter results were disclosed on May 24.

Collective’s board has commenced a search for a new ceo, and Massey has said he doesn’t wish to be considered for the post on a permanent basis.

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