Paul Grangaard, the CEO of Port Washington, Wis.-based shoemaker Allen Edmonds announced he is retiring.
Grangaard, a former partner at the Minneapolis-based private equity firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, stepped in as interim CEO of Wisconsin-based shoemaker Allen Edmonds in 2008.
During the Great Recession Allen Edmonds nearly collapsed but Goldner Hawn invested an additional $10 million in the company when other private equity investment partners had lost faith.
Grangaard became full-time CEO and under his leadership revived the brand and company.
Grangaard, always quick to credit employees for the success of the company, was an active and entrepreneurial leader who dipped his hands into many aspects of the company. He improved operations, developed a retail presence by opening company-owned stores, introduced more accessories and apparel and pushed for the revival of some of the brands classic shoe styles.
Allen Edmonds has been reporting record sales and earnings each year since 2010 and employment has grown to 750.
Grangaard says he will spend more with his family and pursuing his interest in music. He is a Minnesota Orchestra board member and during the musician’s strike he collaborated with a trumpet player, Charles Lazarus, on a 13-song Christmas album.
Grangaard will remain an advisor to Allen Edmonds but Malcom Robinson, newly appointed as Caleres president of the Men’s and International division of Caleres, will oversee Allen Edmonds.
Earlier this year Grangaard talked with the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony on Allen Edmonds prospects after corporate ownership of the company had changed once again.
In 2013 Los Angeles-based private equity firm Brentwood Associates bought Allen Edmonds for $200 million in and in December 2016, they sold the company to Caleres Inc. for $225 million. St. Louis-based Caleres is a footwear retailer and wholesaler that owns Famous Footwear and other shoe brands.