NEW YORK (AP) _ Designer Steve Madden is resigning as chief executive of the shoe company he founded, as part of a series of changes designed to bolster the firm's management structure, the company said Wednesday.

Madden will become chief creative officer and continue to be responsible for all creative and design functions, the company said.

Jamieson A. Karson, a prominent attorney who joined the company's board of directors in January, will succeed Madden as CEO. He will also hold the title of vice chairman. Karson is a partner with Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirshtritt, LLP, a New York-based law firm, where he serves on the finance committee.

Charles Koppelman, who was acting chairman, has been named executive chairman. He will head a newly created office of the chairperson, which will be responsible for corporate policy and strategic planning. The office will comprise of the executive chairman, chief executive and president. Rhonda Brown continues as president.

Madden will be a non-voting member of the office of the chairman.

Madden resigned as chairman last June after he was arrested on stock fraud charges. Madden has denied the allegations.

The Long Island, N.Y.-based company also said Wednesday that Madden has entered into a 10-year employment agreement, and has signed a pact that will ensure that the company retains exclusive rights to the use of the Madden name for all current and related businesses, as well as an expanded list of potential products.

The company also announced that Rachelle Watts, who was senior designer, has been promoted to design director for the brand, a new post. In her new role, she will direct the firm's 11-member design staff.

Shares of Steve Madden were down 70 cents, to close at $16.46 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.