The Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School has announced that Payless ShoeSource CEO and President Matt Rubel will receive the 2008 M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award. The award, which recognizes vision and outstanding achievements in retailing, will be presented on April 2 and is part of the center’s 25th anniversary celebration.

While on campus, Rubel will present a keynote address to business students on the topic of his reinvention of the Payless brand through the addition of major designer brands and new marketing campaigns. He will also have a private round-table discussion with the Zale Leadership Scholars, May’s top retailing students. Rubel’s presentation will be the highlight of the center’s annual Sponsor Forum and Zale Lecture event, which will bring senior executives from more than 20 sponsoring companies into the classroom to address business students on April 1 and 2.

Payless ShoeSource CEO and president Matt Rubel, seen here at last fall’s Retailing Summit, has been named as the 2008 recipient of the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award.

Rubel took over the reigns of Payless’ 4,900 stores in July 2005. Since that time, he has spearheaded the dramatic expansion of Collective Brands, the parent company of Payless, including the recent acquisition of Stride Rite. His mission at Payless has been to “democratize fashion,” making great shoes accessible to millions at a budget price. Rubel’s management in the last three years has strengthened Payless’ position as the #1 shoe retailer in the western hemisphere. The top spot at Payless is the latest achievement in his prestigious career, which has included leadership positions with brands such as Cole Haan, J. Crew, Pepe Jeans USA, and Revlon.

The award is named after M.B. Zale, founder of the Zale Corporation, which has been a corporate sponsor of the center since its opening in 1983. A grant from M.B. and Edna Zale established the center twenty five years ago.

About the center

The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) is a bridge between the academic and business communities. Committed to excellence in retail education, research, and service, the center’s programs prepare students for careers in retailing and provide retailers with outstanding graduates. The CRS was the first retailing center partnered with a business school and it remains the nation’s premier institution of retailing education. Housed in the Department of Marketing at Mays, the center is privately funded by more than 35 sponsor companies from throughout the nation.

About Mays Business School

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. Mays is nationally ranked among public business schools not only for the quality of its undergraduate program, but also its MBA program and the faculty scholarship of its 105 professors in five departments.