Jay Margolis has resigned as president, chief operating officer and director of athletic shoe and apparel maker Reebok International Ltd on the same day that the company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

In a statement, Reebok said Paul Fireman, chairman and chief executive officer, will now assume day-to-day leadership responsibilities of the company.

There are no plans to replace Margolis' position. During the next several years, the Board and Fireman will work together to identify and develop an internal successor.

Margolis joined Reebok two years ago when Fireman was going through various health problems.

"Now that he has fully recovered," Margolis said, "it is his leadership that will serve the company best at this time. It is the right thing for our shareholders that Paul be involved in the business as much as possible."

In a separate announcement, Canton, MA-based Reebok said its third quarter profit was $82 million or $1.36 per diluted share - an earnings per share increase of 42 per cent when compared to net income of $63m, or $.96 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2003.

Net sales for the third quarter were $1.165 billion, an increase of 12 per cent from 2003's third-quarter net sales of $1.041b.

For the Reebok Brand, worldwide sales in the 2004 third quarter increased 12 per cent to $1.003bn compared to 2003's third-quarter sales of $892m.

Sales for the company's other brands, Rockport, Ralph Lauren Footwear and The Greg Norman Collection, were $162 million in the third quarter of 2004 compared with 2003's third quarter sales of $149 million, an increase of 9 per cent. 

For the nine months ended 30 September, net sales totalled $2.810bn, versus $2.642bn in the year-before period. Nine-month net income was $144.683bn, up from $129.133bn in 2003.