Designer Brands is one of North America’s largest designers, producers and retailers of footwear and accessories. Our business segments include world-class design and sourcing operations, a robust wholesaling business, and more than 1,000 points of distribution.
Mr. Schottenstein is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at Designer Brands, a position he’s held since March 2005. He previously served as our Chief Executive Officer from March 2005 - April 2009.
In 1969, members of the Schottenstein family, Saul, Alvin, Jerome and Leon, along with partners George and Steve Nacht, founded The Shonac Corporation in Columbus, Ohio. By 1976, Shonac had grown from six Ohio shoe stores to 20. In 1991, the company launched a new concept called Designer Shoe Warehouse and the first DSW was built in Dublin, Ohio. In 1996, Debbie Ferree joined DSW as head merchant, and worked closely with Mr. Schottenstein to transform the company from a closeout retailer to an inline retailer of designer and name brand shoes. Today, Ferree is Vice Chairman of Designer Brands.
A key leader and visionary, Mr. Schottenstein is responsible for guiding Designer Brands through more than 15 years of rapid transformation, growing us into one of North America’s largest designers, producers, and retailers of footwear and accessories. Our impact on the retail industry would not be possible without Mr. Schottenstein’s expertise in merchandising, development, sourcing, production, and real estate. His immense business acumen has allowed us to expand our flagship retail brand, DSW, across more than 500 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Mr. Schottenstein’s vast knowledge of retail and real estate is deeply rooted in family history. His grandfather, Ephraim Schottenstein, opened the family’s first department store in Columbus, Ohio, in 1917. From that humble beginning, Schottenstein Stores Corporation was born. The Schottenstein family owns and operates Schottenstein Stores Corp., a holding company with stakes in major retail chains across the United States. Designer Brands is part of the Schottenstein family of companies, along with American Eagle Outfitters, American Signature Furniture, Value City Furniture, and many others.
In addition to his role as Executive Chairman of Designer Brands, Mr. Schottenstein is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Outfitters, Chairman of American Signature Inc., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SB360 Capital Partners, and Chairman of Schottenstein Stores Corp. He has served in various executive capacities at Retail Ventures, Inc. and Schottenstein RVI LLC. He has been a member of the board of directors at Albertsons Companies since 2006.
Like his late father before him, Mr. Schottenstein’s generosity of spirit is his biggest strength, as evidenced by his regular contributions to charitable organizations in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife, Jeanie, donate millions of dollars each year to fund local educational and cultural initiatives. They are proud supporters of Ohio State University, the Columbus Museum of Art, the United Way of Central Ohio, the American Red Cross of Central Ohio, and more. The Schottensteins also give to many national and international organizations dedicated to preserving Jewish history and heritage, including the Mesorah Heritage Foundation, Yeshiva University, and the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel.
Mr. Schottenstein attended Indiana University Bloomington, where he graduated in 1976. In 2007, he was honored by the Kelley School of Business for his remarkable display of leadership throughout his career. He and his wife live in Columbus, Ohio. They have three children.