Retail Ventures, Inc. announced that leading Heywood Wilansky was named President and CEO of the company. He is leaving his position as President and CEO of the Filene's Basement subsidiary of RVI. Wilansky succeeds John C. Rossler, who, along with EVP/COO Edwin J. Kozlowski, has left the company.

“John Rossler and Ed Kozlowski have been instrumental in the expansion of the number of RVI stores,” RVI Board Chairman Jay Schottenstein said. “They have made valuable contributions and we wish them well.”

In simultaneous appointments:

  • Deborah Ferree, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer of DSW, RVI's designer shoe retail company, will become President and Chief Merchandising Officer of DSW.
  • Jerald Politzer, Executive Vice President of Merchandising for Filene's Basement, will become President of the Value City Department Stores operations of RVI. The division's former president, Stuart Glasser, has resigned.

  • Mark Shulman, currently Chief Operating Officer of Retail Brand Alliance, will become President of Filene's Basement.

The Board has not filled the position of COO of RVI, pending completion of a search. Jim McGrady, RVI's Chief Financial Officer, will undertake operational responsibilities that had been reporting to the COO in the interim period.

Mr. Schottenstein said, “We are delighted that Mr. Wilansky has agreed to lead RVI at this vital time. He is a proven leader with impeccable credentials who will tackle the challenges posed by a tough retail marketplace.”

Mr. Wilansky added, “We will continue the growth of DSW and Filene's Basement, and re-examine our merchandising mix at Value City Department Stores with the goal of freshening the stores' consumer appeal.”

Mr. Wilansky has a distinguished career in retail. Before coming to RVI, he served as President and CEO of Bon Ton Stores, and President and CEO of two divisions of The May Department Stores Company. He previously held positions at Lord & Taylor and The Hecht Company. Mr. Wilansky also was a professor of marketing at the University of Maryland business school.

Ms. Ferree joined DSW in 1997. Prior to that time she had more than 20 years of experience in the retail industry in various positions, including Divisional Merchandising Manager of Shoes, Accessories and Intimate Apparel for Harris Department Store, as a women's buyer for Ross Stores and as a Divisional Merchandise Manager of The May Department Stores Company.

Mr. Politzer, who has been with RVI for 18 months, previously served as CEO of Salant Corporation, a men's apparel company, and Vice Chairman of Melville Corporation where he oversaw divisions with sales ranging from $2 billion to $6 billion. He also served as CEO of G. Fox Stores and Secure Connections, from which he joined RVI's Filene's Basement.

Mr. Shulman will leave his position as Chief Operating Officer of Retail Brand Alliance, which owns Brooks Brothers, Casual Corner Group, Carolee Designs, and Adrienne Vittadini. Before that, he was Chief Merchandising Officer for Stage Stores, President and CEO of Henri Bendel and President and CEO of Ann Taylor.