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Brown Shoe Company, Inc. (NYSE: BWS) today announced the retirement of Brian C. Cook, executive vice president of the corporation and president of Famous Footwear to be effective when Mr. Cook turns 62 next month. At that time, Mr. Cook will become a special assistant to the chairman of the company, Ron Fromm, providing strategic counsel. A search for Mr. Cook's replacement is well underway. In the interim, Brown Shoe Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm will assume day-to-day leadership of the division. Mr. Fromm spent 13 years at Famous Footwear, most recently as Executive Vice President, before accepting the Presidency of Brown Shoe in 1998. "Brian Cook's contributions to Famous Footwear over the last 38 years have been immeasurable," said Fromm. "Since he became President of Famous Footwear in 1979, he has overseen the growth of this top footwear chain from 35 stores in 1979, to 907 stores today in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. Under his tenure, the chain surpassed the $1 billion sales mark last year, and has become the leading brand-name, value-priced family footwear chain in America." Cook joined Famous Footwear in 1963, when the company had one store in Madison, Wisconsin. He was one of the company's original employees, starting as a part-time stock clerk while an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. By 1965, he was managing the company's first 10,000-square-foot store, and by 1969 at age 27, was made a vice president with responsibility for buying most of the chain's footwear. In 1979, he was named president, and in 1981 he joined Brown Shoe when it acquired Famous Footwear. He was named executive vice president of Brown Shoe in 1999 in recognition of the chain's unparalleled growth and tremendous success. In announcing his retirement, Cook said, "I take this step with mixed emotions. At Famous Footwear, I have had the privilege to work closely with some of the most talented people in our industry, and to build a strong, dedicated leadership team here. I am confident that this will continue to be a smooth transition, and that Famous Footwear is well positioned to continue growing and increasing its leadership role in the footwear industry." Famous Footwear has increased its sales in each of the 22 years of Cook's presidency. In 2000, 1999 and 1998, the chain set records with its increases in operating earnings. "Brian Cook's retirement will certainly be felt throughout our organization," Fromm pointed out. "He is probably the best retailer in the footwear industry, with a track record that is the envy of all. We are pleased that he will continue to assist us during our transition to new management and beyond as we refine Famous Footwear's strategic direction." Fromm continued, "On a personal note, Brian's commitment to excellence in execution has been an inspiration for me personally and for all of those who have worked with him. He has motivated and driven the company to stretch and aspire to excel. His effort and counsel have been selfless and truly exceptional. While we will miss his day-to-day leadership, we will continue to benefit from his strategic thinking. He is an outstanding coach, sounding board and leader, and I am truly grateful for the years we have worked together, and look forward to having his continued wisdom and counsel."
Second Quarter Earnings and Conference Call Brown Shoe will issue its second quarter earnings after market close on August 21, 2001 and hold a conference call to discuss results at 4:30 p.m. EST. While the question-and-answer session of the call will be limited to institutional analysts and investors, retail brokers and individual investors are invited to attend via a live web-cast to be hosted at http://www.streetevents.com . At the website, click on the Individual Investor Center to locate the broadcast. To listen to the webcast, your computer must have RealPlayer installed. If you do not have RealPlayer, go to http://www.streetevents.com prior to the call, where you can download RealPlayer for free.
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