SOURCE: Collective Brands, Inc.

Collective Brands, Inc.

December 04, 2009 10:00 ET

Stride Rite Children's Group Appoints Sharon John as New President

Children's Brand Expert With Strong Licensing, Product Innovation and Development, and Mom and Kids'-Marketing Experience to Head Stride Rite Children's Group Team and Brand Portfolio

LEXINGTON, MA--(Marketwire - December 4, 2009) - The Stride Rite Children's Group (SRCG) unit of Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group today announced that it has appointed Sharon John as its unit president. John, who has extensive experience in Children's brands, marketing to moms and kids, and strong licensing, product development and innovation expertise at such companies as Hasbro, Inc. and Mattel, Inc., among others, will lead SRCG and its expanding portfolio of brands including Stride Rite®, Robeez®, Saucony® Kids, Sperry Top-Sider® Kids, Keds® Kids, Jessica Simpson Kids, Tommy Hilfiger Kids, and more.

John will begin in her new role in late December and report to Gregg Ribatt, president and chief executive officer of the Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group. She will head up all functions of the SRCG team including product creation, sales, marketing, merchandise planning and distribution, as well as retail which includes retail merchandising and operations of more than 350 Stride Rite stores.

"Sharon has an extensive background in children's brands and marketing to moms with an in-depth knowledge of the business from creating innovative new product ideas to the development, marketing and merchandising of great brands and products across the globe," said Ribatt. "She has worked on a wide array of kids' brands and products including everything from Barbie to My Little Pony and Nerf, drove innovative licensing deals with the latest exciting properties, and created new product ideas such as innovative educational toys. We are thrilled to have her join our team and to leverage her talents and expertise to continue the SRCG mission to be the pre-eminent footwear company for kids creating exciting new, innovative products that kids love and moms trust."

Collective Brands, Inc., parent company of Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, said that John joining the team aligns with the company's strategy of building stronger consumer connections with its distinct target markets.

"At Collective Brands, a key strategic focus is forging deeper emotional connections with moms and kids," said Matt Rubel, CEO of Collective Brands, Inc. "We look forward to Sharon joining our team and her leadership and contribution to this important and growing market for our company."

Since 2002, John had been with Hasbro serving in a range of senior management roles most recently as General Manager and Senior Vice President of Global Preschool where she was in charge of global strategy and marketing for Hasbro's Preschool brand portfolio including Playskool's Mr. Potato Head, Gloworm, among others as well as Play-doh. She started as Vice President of Tiger Electronics and served in roles of increasing responsibility and gaining a broad brand experience eventually managing Hasbro's Boys, Girls and Sports Action divisions.

From 2000 to 2002, she was founder and chief executive officer of Checkerboard Toys, where she re-launched a top-selling fashion doll of the early 1970s (Dawn) with a successful 30th anniversary doll and a limited mass market edition, which received a "Dr. Toy" award. From 1999 to 2000 she was Vice President, US Toy Division with VTech Industries. From 1994 to 1999 John was with Mattel starting out as an Assistant Brand Manager and serving in a range of roles with her most recent role as Vice President, International Marketing for Mattel's Disney Business Unit where she helped reinvigorate the Mattel-Disney relationship and garnered strong licensing expertise.

She started her career in advertising, working in the industry from 1987-1993 at top agencies including DDB Needham Worldwide on the Hershey account and Bates as the Account Supervisor of the SNICKERS/M&M Mars business.

John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.

About Stride Rite Children's Group, Inc. and Collective Brands, Inc.

The Stride Rite Children's Group, part of the Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group of Collective Brands, Inc., markets the leading brand of premium children's footwear in the United States under such brands as Stride Rite, Robeez, Saucony Kids, Keds Kids, and Sperry Top-Sider Kids, among others. For over 85 years, the company has designed and engineered footwear specifically to meet the needs of growing children. Stride Rite's mission is to encourage kids and support parents by developing and marketing products that help children embrace life's possibilities and adventures with confidence.

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion®, Zoe & Zac™, the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, alice + olivia for Payless, Christian Siriano for Payless and STLP x Airwalk, among others; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider®, Robeez®, and Saucony®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.

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