That’s long been a question on Wall Street, never more so than this week after Lampert, 50, the chairman of the company and founder and head of hedge fund ESL Investments, inserted himself as Sears’s fifth chief executive officer in seven years. You cannot help but wonder if Lampert knows what he wants to do with the retailer/investment vehicle, which is the product of his 2005 smashing together of Kmart and Sears Roebuck.
Out of the gate, the merged entity’s first CEO was Alan Lacy, the same guy who led Sears before it sold, following a long-term decline. Within six months, Lampert replaced the legacy exec with fast-food veteran Aylwin Lewis, who was then pushed out to start 2008, amid Sears Holdings’ broad reorganization. Then, for more than three years, Lampert allowed the company—in operational decline, and shuttering stores—to be run by an interim CEO. Finally, or so the Street thought, in February 2011 he tapped Louis D’Ambrosio, who had no experience in retail, to become its CEO. D’Ambrosio cited family health issues for his departure.
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