Designer Brands CEO Roger Rawlins leaves

  • After around seven years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Rawlins
  • Doug Howe taking over
  • Rawlins said 93 words

(exechange) — Columbus, Ohio, January 5, 2023 — Roger Rawlins, chief executive of Designer Brands, leaves his position. As announced by Designer Brands Inc. in a news release on Thursday, January 5, 2023, Roger L. Rawlins leaves his post as chief executive officer at the retailer of footwear and accessories, after around seven years in the role, effective April 1, 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.

exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.

Roger Rawlins’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Doug Howe, currently President of DSW at Designer Brands Inc.

“With Doug and Roger’s assistance, management will conduct a comprehensive search to identify the next President of DSW,” Designer Brands stated.

“Long-term succession planning”

Roger Rawlins’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Designer Brands said: “This transition is the direct result of the Board of Directors’ long-term succession planning with respect to the CEO role.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.6% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.1%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.4%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6% of cases), personal reasons (3%) and conduct issues (2.4%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (2.1% of cases), career change (2.1%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%), death (0.9%) and disagreement (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 31% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Roger Rawlins’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down”

Designer Brands said: “The Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board of Directors” or the “Board”) has appointed Doug Howe, President of DSW, to succeed Roger Rawlins as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2023, at which time Rawlins will step down as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors.”

Companies often provide less precise information in their corporate announcements than in regulatory filings, which are sometimes published with a considerable delay and therefore cannot always be included in the exechange analysis. In the present case, a regulatory filing regarding Roger Rawlins’s move was not available at the time of the analysis.

Share price decline since January 2018

The announcement follows a decline in Designer Brands Inc.’s share price of 57% since January 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2016

Roger Rawlins became CEO of the Company in 2016.

Rawlins will continue to work with the Company for a twelve-month period in a Strategic Advisor role to facilitate a seamless leadership transition.

Rawlins has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since January 2016.

Prior to his appointment as CEO, Rawlins held numerous positions at the Company, including President of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, Chief Innovation Officer, Executive Vice President, Omni Channel, Senior Vice President and General Manager of and Vice President, Finance and Controller.

Prior to joining the Company, Rawlins served as Chief Financial Officer of HER Real Living and held several leadership roles within L Brands, Inc., including Controller of Express, Inc. from 1998 to 2001.

93 words by Roger Rawlins

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Designer Brands Inc., Roger Rawlins received accolades, praise and thanks.

In the announcement of the leadership change, Roger Rawlins said 93 words.

“Pleased with our accomplishments”

Roger Rawlins stated: “I want to thank Jay and Joey Schottenstein and our Board of Directors for the opportunity provided to me to lead this outstanding organization. It has been a privilege to lead Designer Brands on its journey to becoming a brand builder, and I am confident in Doug’s experience, leadership and commitment to continue that path. After 17 years with this organization and seven years as CEO, I am proud of the company we have built, pleased with our accomplishments, and humbled by the fantastic team with whom I’ve had the honor of working.”

Over the past 12 months, 26% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 108 words. The longest statement was 382 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long or no explanations for their move are statistically associated with elevated pressure and show an increased incidence of Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5.

33% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 335 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (January 5, 2022, to January 4, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.6, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When time with family, performance issues or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 33% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, three in 10 departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Pressure in the consumer discretionary sector well above the critical threshold

Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, consumer staples and health care sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, financials and utilities sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the consumer discretionary sector, which includes Designer Brands Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.2, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the consumer discretionary sector, 20 exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were most likely forced out or faced strong pressure to step down.

Push-out Score for Roger Rawlins’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Roger Rawlins’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to Designer Brands and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 2.2023 ($).