Brian C Cook, executive vice president of Brown Shoe Company Inc and president of Famous Footwear, is to retire next month. On retirement, he 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 under way. 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 past 38 years have been immeasurable," said Fromm. "Since he became president of Famous Footwear in 1979, he has overseen the growth of this 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 $1bn sales mark last year, and has become the leading brand-name, value-priced family footwear chain in America."