The Stride Rite Corporation has hired Gregg Ribatt from Stuart Weitzman Holdings to serve as its president and chief executive officer, replacing Rick Thornton who was left the firm to pursue other opportunities.

In his new role, which will start on 7 January, Ribatt will lead and direct the growth and brand-building of Stride Rite's lifestyle, athletic and children's brands including Stride Rite, Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Robeez, and Saucony.

He will be responsible for managing all operational aspects for Stride Rite's business including product design and development, growth of its premier brands, as well as the operation of approximately 300 Stride Rite stores.

Ribatt, who most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC, will report to Matt Rubel, president and CEO of the footwear firm's holding company Collective Brands.

"Gregg Ribatt is a fourth generation footwear industry expert with proven experience in driving strong business results from his strategic work developing and growing Bennett Footwear Group and its stable of brands such as Franco Sarto, Via Spiga, and Etienne Aigner, among others," Rubel said.

Collective Brands was formed after Payless ShoeSource bought The  Stride Rite Corporation for $900m in September.