Sears CEO Lewis Steps Down

Move Follows Restructuring of Business Units, Earnings Warning

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NEW YORK ( -- Sears Holding Corp. today said Aylwin B. Lewis, president-CEO, will leave the company as of Feb. 2. He will also relinquish his position on the board of directors. W. Bruce Johnson, exec VP-supply chain and operations, will serve as the interim president-CEO while the search to replace Mr. Lewis is under way.
Aylwin B. Lewis
Aylwin B. Lewis

"We are entering a new phase in Sears' evolution as a multi-channel retailer ... and the board has determined that now is the right time to put in place new leadership to take the company forward," Edward S. Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings, said in a release.

Tumultuous period
The announcement comes in the midst of a tumultuous period for the retailer. Last week, the company announced a broad restructuring that will organize the company into five business units. And earlier this month, the company warned that fourth-quarter earnings per share could fall as much as 51% to between $2.59 and $3.48 per share, compared to $5.33 a share last year.

"While Sears and our industry are facing many challenges, I believe that we are taking all the right steps to build a great retailer," Mr. Johnson said.

Messrs. Lewis, Johnson and Lampert declined additional comment.

Mr. Lewis became president of Sears Holdings in 2005 as part of the merger of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Kmart Corp. He had served as Kmart's chief executive. During Mr. Lewis' time at the helm, both Sears and Kmart rolled out lifestyle marketing campaigns, which harkened back to happier -- and more profitable -- days. Sears brought back the Sears Book, while Kmart revived its blue light specials.
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