Lampert Takes Over Marketing, Merchandising and More at Sears
By George Anderson
Edward Lampert has a few new jobs. The chairman of Sears Holdings Corp. removed Alan Lacy as CEO of Sears and put himself in charge of running Sears Holdings’ marketing, merchandising, design and Internet business (includes Lands’ End).
“Our goal is to build one company with multiple ways of connecting with our customers, including our various store formats, on-line offerings, service relationships, and credit products,” he said in released statement explaining the changes.
Aylwin Lewis, who had been running Kmart, will now serve as CEO of Sears Holdings with responsibility for running the company’s 3,900 stores and its home services, finance, legal, supply chain, information technology, and human resources functions.
CFO William Crowley will also assume new duties in the newly created position of Chief Administrative Officer.
In becoming more directly involved, Mr. Lampert told shareholders in a letter that he was looking for the company to be “more responsive to customers” and “raise the bar of our expectations and standards.’
Despite the optimistic nature of Sears Holdings’ press release on the personnel changes being made, not all see Mr. Lampert’s direct involvement as a positive sign for the company.
“Even the greater involvement of Eddie Lampert can raise some concerns that the story is not playing out for him,” wrote Gary Balter, an analyst covering the company for Credit Suisse First Boston.
Some, such as Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, have an even bleaker view.
“Lampert is going to go through all sorts of concoctions of reorganizing, but at the end of the day, Sears won’t be able to compete,” said Mr. Davidowitz.
While CSFB’s Balter saw positives when visiting Sears’ stores earlier this summer, there are some very big concerns that Mr. Lampert will need to address in his new role. “The two weak links in the store are apparel and consumer electronics,” he wrote. “One could have had a nice nap in the consumer electronics section given the light traffic. Conversely, appliances were buzzing.’
Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to the executive changes made at Sears Holdings? What do the various divisions
of the company (Sears, Kmart, Lands’ End) need to do to get their businesses turned around? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Sears Ousts Chief Executive; Lampert to Take Control – Bloomberg
- Sears Holdings Corporation Reports Second Quarter 2005 Results and Announces
Leadership Changes – Sears Holdings Corporation/ PRNewswire-FirstCall
- Sears’ Lacy to take 33% salary cut – Crain’s Chicago Business
- New role for Lampert at Sears – Chicago Sun-Times
- Lampert dumps Lacy – Chicago Tribune
- Sears Shuffles Its Management Team – The Wall Street Journal