Eddie Lampert Named New CEO Of Sears

1/8/13 12:20PM EST

sears Eddie Lampert Named New CEO Of Sears

Controversial financier Eddie Lampert will step in as CEO of Sears Holdings effective Feb. 2, taking over for Louis D’Ambrosio who announced his departure due to “family health matters” in a company statement. Lampert is currently the majority shareholder and chairman of the company—which controls Sears as well as K-Mart—as well as the founder, chairman and CEO of ESL Investments.

Lampert orchestrated the acquisition of Sears in a 2005 deal valued at $11.5 billion—creating the nation’s third-largest retail conglomerate. Then, the billionaire hedge-fund manager went on to slash costs and compress investments, which led the struggling company to a short-term resurgence in the market. But Sears and K-Mart customers were soon turned off by what they called inadequate customer service and less-than-fashionable stores.

Recently, Sears has attempted to makeover some of its stores, adding new technology such as mobile devices that help sales clerks assist shoppers. Analysts speculate, however, that without drastic changes the company will soon meet its demise—it forecast a net loss for the current quarter between $280 million and $360 million.

Lampert plans to temporarily continue in his role as chairman in addition to his new duties as CEO.

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,” Lampert said in a statement. “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.

[Image via daysofthundr46/Flickr]

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