Sears CEO Abruptly Steps Down, Citing 'Family Health Matters' — Eddie Lampert Will Take Over

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SHLD38.33+4.73

Big news from Sears.

Hedge funder Eddie Lampert is taking over as Sears Holdings CEO, starting on February 2.

CEO Louis D'Ambrosio is stepping down, citing "family health matters."

Lampert is the chairman of Sears, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of ESL Investments.

During his tenure as Sears chairman, Lampert has been lambasted by pundits and his own former executives for failing to help turnaround Sears.

He's also on the Forbes 400 list, coming in 367th in 2012 with a net worth of $3.1 billion.

Here's the full press release from Sears:

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Jan. 7, 2013 — Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLD) today announced that Louis J. D'Ambrosio will step down as Chief Executive Officer for family health matters at the end of the company's fiscal year on February 2, 2013.  Edward S. Lampert will then assume the role of CEO of Sears Holdings, in addition to his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Mr. D'Ambrosio will remain on the Board until the company's next Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held in May 2013 and will be available to assist with a smooth transition.

"The Board greatly appreciates Lou's strong leadership in accelerating the transformation of Sears Holdings, and we understand and respect his personal decision to step down," said Mr. Lampert.  "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.  His contributions to our company have been significant, and the entire Sears Holdings family wishes Lou and his family the very best."

Mr. Lampert added, "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.  Working closely with the Board, management and our dedicated associates, we will remain focused on executing our goals, improving operations and building sustainable long-term value for shareholders.  All of this starts with delivering great experiences to our Members."

Mr. D'Ambrosio said, "It has been a true privilege to serve the customers, Members, shareholders and associates of Sears Holdings.  This was a very difficult decision, but necessary for family considerations.  Sears Holdings is a remarkable company going through an exciting transformation to serve its Members with excellence in Integrated Retail.  I wish both the company and our talented associates much success in completing the transformation of Sears Holdings and look forward to supporting Eddie and the rest of our management team during the transition."



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