Payless’ New Parent Appoints New CEO

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Topeka, KA—Just days after the completion of the $2 billion buyout of Collective Brands, the new owners have appointed a veteran retailer to head up their new Payless Holdings.

Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital Partners, both San Francisco-based private equity and investment firms, acquired the operations of Payless ShoeSource and Collective Licensing International as part of a deal that split up Collective Brands with Wolverine Worldwide.

W. Paul Jones, former chief executive at Shopko Stores, was named as chief executive office of Payless Holdings, the company that owns Payless ShoeSource and the Collective Licensing division. Jones, 51, will be based in Topeka and assume his role on Oct. 22.

“I am thrilled to join the Payless team and help drive this global brand’s future success,” Jones said. “I have had the pleasure of working with Payless for several years through a strategic partnership with Shopko and have a deep appreciation for the power of the Payless brand.”

At Shopko, Jones spearheaded the retailer’s successful repositioning, the acquisition and conversion of Pamida, a smaller footprint, rural retailer, to a new small market business format called Shopko Hometown and the launch of Shopko’s e-commerce site.

Previously, Jones was vice president of general merchandising at Sears, where he played a key role in the reinvention and turnaround of the $2.3 billion men’s and children’s apparel business. Prior to Sears, Jones was senior vice president of merchandising of Kohl’s, which opened more than 450 stores nationwide during his tenure. Jones began his career at May Department Stores.

Commenting on Jones’ appointment, Josh Olshansky, managing director at Golden Gate Capital, said, “Paul is a proven CEO in the value retailing industry and a seasoned merchant leader with a deep understanding of budget-conscious consumer habits and trends. His merchandise savvy, demonstrated track record of increasing profitability and passion for the value retail segment make him the ideal person to lead Payless Holdings and maximize its future potential.”