Isn’t It Time Eddie Lampert Fired the CEO of Sears?
Many failed to see what the big deal was back in January when it was announced Edward Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings, was taking over as CEO of the company. After all, through leaders both interim and permanent, it is widely believed Mr. Lampert has been calling all the shots since merging Kmart and Sears some eight years back. He certainly has been blamed for failing to invest in the company’s stores. He has jumped from one tactic to another, all the while claiming to have a grand strategy to turn the business around, if not readily obvious to retail industry watchers.
Just last month, as Bloomberg News reports, Mr. Lampert claimed in an interview that his critics just don’t get it. Perhaps the misunderstanding between Mr. Lampert and his critics has to do with how each defines success.
Some, like former chairman and CEO of Sears Canada Mark Cohen, do not seem to believe that words like merchant or retailer should be used in the same sentence as Mr. Lampert’s name.
"Sears is slowly and steadily failing at the hands of a ruthless, methodical asset-stripper," Mr. Cohen told Bloomberg. "Lampert will come up with some cash every quarter or two to make sure the balance sheet is still viable. It’s a tragedy because Sears is a legacy brand that needed to be and could’ve been repositioned."
Mr. Cohen is not alone in his criticism of what Mr. Lampert has done at — perhaps to — Sears. Even Wall Street analysts, who bought in early to Mr. Lampert’s PR that he is a Warren Buffet-like figure, question how long the company can continue to spin-off businesses, sell leases, etc. before a turnaround is no longer possible.
In an interview last month with WWD.com, Mr. Lampert offered a definition of a great company. "A great company grows without sacrificing quality," he said.
During his tenure, Mr. Lampert can neither claim to have achieved growth or avoided sacrificing quality. Perhaps it’s time he looks in the mirror and tells the CEO of Sears Holdings that he’s fired.
- Lampert Says He Has Sears Strategy as Analysts Doubt It – Bloomberg News
- Edward Lampert’s Expansion Strategy for Lands’ End – WWD.com (sub. required)
- Sears Rocked by CEO News – RetailWire
- Is Servicing Data (Rather Than People) an Answer for Sears? – RetailWire
Can Sears Holdings get turned around while Edward Lampert is calling the shots? What qualities is Sears’ leadership lacking?