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Williams leads new Stein Mart team

Jacksonville, FL — With Jay Stein stepping down as ceo of Stein Mart, a post he has held since 1989, the next generation of management has been selected to lead the company, though its new chief expects not to change much from its current direction.

Jack Williams, the president and coo of Stein Mart, has been promoted to vice chairman and ceo, effective Sept. 1.

Stein, whose family founded the company in 1908, has been chairman and ceo since 1989 and will continue as chairman of the board. Williams joined Stein Mart in 1980, and has been president and coo since 1990.

"It is deeply satisfying for me to name Jack as vice chairman and ceo," Stein said. "Jack joined our company when we had only three stores, and together we have built this company into a national chain of more than 200 stores."

Williams said, "We have been left a good business model, and I expect to continue from that. There is always fine-tuning, but there will be no deviation from that direction."

In regard to the home area, which has seen recent changes with Pat Stagner's promotion to gmm, home textiles, following Pat Torreyson's retirement last month, Williams said that it "has been good and will continue to be good. It's an exciting time as you have new faces and they can put their stamp on that department."

As a result of Williams' promotion, Michael Fisher, executive vp, stores, will become Stein Mart's new president and coo. Fisher joined the company eight years ago from Miller's Outpost, a 300-store chain in California. During his tenure at Stein Mart, the store network has grown from 65 stores in 16 states to 235 stores in 29 states.

Michael Ray subsequently moved into the position of senior vp and director of stores, as a result of Fisher's promotion. As of Sept. 1, Ray will direct the entire store network of 235 stores, and, upon his relocation to Jacksonville, he will join the company's management committee.

Ray has been with Stein Mart since 1990, holding store, district and regional management positions. He was appointed vp and regional director of stores in January 1997 and currently oversees six districts comprising 75 stores.

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