Brown Shoe Company has appointed Richard "Rick" Ausick as president of its Needham, Mass.-based Bennett Division where he will be responsible for overseeing the division's operations, as well as growing the Via Spiga, Franco Sarto, Etienne Aigner and Nickels Soft brands.

Ausick joined Brown Shoe's Famous Footwear division in 2002 as senior VP - chief merchandising officer, and has served as a key member of the leadership team responsible for repositioning the 950-store chain.

"Rick brings an intense fashion and consumer focus to this position," said Brown Shoe president and COO Diane Sullivan.

"As a leader and an outstanding merchant who knows how to build brands at retail, we're confident that he will continue to drive further growth for the Bennett division."

Ausick replaces Bruce Ginsberg, the previous president of Bennett Footwear, who announced his retirement in May.

The company has also promoted Mark Lardie to senior VP - general merchandising manager for Famous Footwear and Jeff J Sonday to senior VP - finance for Bennett.