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Caleres appoints first-ever chief design and product officer

By Danielle Wightman-Stone



Natelle Baddeley, chief design and product officer at Caleres Credits: Caleres

American footwear group Caleres, which includes Vince, Dr Scholl's, and Blowfish Malibu, has promoted Natelle Baddeley to chief design and product officer, effective immediately.

In the newly created role, Baddeley will have creative oversight of the majority of the Caleres brand portfolio, including Naturalizer, Vionic, Dr Scholl's, Veronica Beard, Vince, Franco Sarto, Blowfish Malibu and LifeStride.

In a statement, Caleres said that Baddeley will be responsible for leading product strategy across design, merchandising, and innovation as the footwear group looks to elevate design and product to drive growth.

In addition, Baddeley will be tasked with continuing to champion Caleres’ sustainability efforts to minimise the impact of manufacturing on the environment. Efforts it states have not only driven significant progress toward the company’s 2025 environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments but also earned Caleres recognition as one of America’s Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek and one of America’s Climate Leaders by USA Today.

Jay Schmidt, president and chief executive of Caleres, said: "Natelle's passion for the brand portfolio and its consumers, combined with her considerable design acumen and technical expertise has made her a natural fit for this role.

"She has a proven track record of improving go-to-market strategy, shaping creativity, designing commercial best-sellers, and developing her team members’ talents.”

Caleres promotes Natelle Baddeley to newly created chief design and product officer role

Baddeley’s career in footwear and accessories spans more than 30 years, joining Caleres in 2018 as senior vice president of design, merchandise, and product development strategy. Prior to Calere, Baddeley was the senior vice president and creative director of global design for Nine West and Bandolino at Jones Apparel Group, where she was responsible for global trend and design direction for all footwear and accessory product categories, including all licenses.

In addition, she also led footwear design at many European brands as well as retailers Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.

Schmidt added: “I am thrilled to have Natelle join the Caleres senior leadership team. This newly created position demonstrates our strategic vision and commitment to placing design and product innovation at the forefront of everything we do as an organisation to accelerate growth in our brands.”

Commenting on her new role, Baddeley said: “I am tremendously proud of the work we have done over the last five years to elevate product across Caleres’ portfolio of powerful brands. I am passionate about innovation as the catalyst to accelerate brand value, improve customer loyalty and ultimately drive growth. I look forward to working closely with Jay and the senior leadership team to achieve the strategic, long-term vision of Caleres.”

Baddeley will continue to report to Schmidt.

In its most recent trading update, Caleres reported a drop in revenue and profit in the second quarter of the year, as it generated net sales of 695.5 million US dollars in the three months to July 29, down 5.8 percent from the prior year.

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