June 4, 2007, 12:00 AM

Newly named COO at Payless resigns

William E. May had been promoted to the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer April 23. The company said he resigned for personal reasons, and no successor was named.

William E. May has resigned from discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource Inc., just five weeks after being named to the newly created post of executive vice president and chief operating officer. The company said he resigned for personal reasons, and no successor was named.

President and CEO Matt Rubel commented briefly on May’s departure in an earnings call with stock analysts, saying that May had been responsible for finance, information technology and store development.

“So I would just say that we will be bringing on another senior executive at some point here in the next few months,” Rubel said. “We’ll probably be doing some other reconfiguring as we think about how we want to operate as a multiunit corporation, but nothing that’s going to happen in the next 60 days.

Payless, No. 268 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, announced earlier in May its intention to acquire footwear company Stride Rite Corp. The combined company will be called Collective Brands Inc., and Rubel will be CEO.

Payless reported sales of $728.6 million in its first quarter, which ended May 5, up nearly 5% from $694.5 million a year ago. Net earnings were $38.9 million, or $0.59 a share, up 8.1% from $36 million, or $0.53 per share in the prior year quarter.

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