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Sears CEO D’Ambrosio to step down in February
January 8th, 2013
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Sears Holdings Corp. has announced that Lou D’Ambrosio will step down as chief executive officer due to family health matters effective February 2, which marks the end of the company’s fiscal year. Chairman Edward Lampert will add the role of CEO to his current duties at that point.
"Lou has guided Sears Holdings during a time of rapid industry change to become a more customer- and member-focused company, and positioned us to lead in integrated retail," said Lampert in a statement. "In light of Lou’s decision to step down the board feels it is important that there is continuity of leadership during this important period of transformation and improvement at Sears Holdings. I have agreed to assume these additional responsibilities in order to continue the company’s recovery and sustain the momentum we are experiencing, as well as further the development of the management team under the distributed leadership model, which provides our business unit leaders with greater control, authority and autonomy."
D’Ambrosio took the CEO’s position at Sears Holdings in February 2011. He replaced Bruce Johnson, who had been interim CEO since 2008. D’Ambrosio had spent 16 years at International Business Machines (IBM) before being named CEO of Avaya, another technology company, in 2002.
Retail analysts credit D’Ambrosio with helping drive strategies that are positioning Sears and Kmart to be more competitive, particularly in leveraging technology. For example, under D’Ambrosio, Sears clerks are equipped with tablets so they can instantly access product information to aid customers, and the company has launched a loyalty program. D’Ambrosio also has pushed the integration of the company’s online and brick-and-mortar business and, as a result, its multichannel transactions (for instance, ordering a product online and picking it up in-store) now account for about half of its online business.
At the same time Sears announced that it expects to report a net loss of $721 million to $801 million for the fiscal year, including an estimated fourth quarter noncash charge of about $492 million related to pension settlements and expense as well as other items. The adjusted net loss is projected to range between $123 million and $203 million, or between $1.16 and $1.92 per diluted share.
However, adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the year is now expected to total $560 million to $660 million, compared with $277 million last year. "We expect to generate domestic EBITDA improvement for the fourth consecutive quarter and have reduced net debt by $400 million as of December 29, 2012," said D’Ambrosio. "We have also made considerable progress on our strategic priorities of transforming the company around Integrated Retail and our ShopYourWay membership program."