11th Jan 2013

Lampert makes the move from chairman to CEO at Sears Holdings

Edward Lampert is a lawyer’s son with a degree from Yale. He cut his teeth in Goldman Sachs, and in 1988 he flew solo, founding ESL Investments Inc. He has been chairman and CEO since. ESL is Sears Holdings Corp’s largest shareholder. Lampert has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

The Wall Street Journal this week reported the appointment of a new CEO at Sears. Lou D’Ambrosio has held the position for the past two years but is stepping down due to “family health matters”. Sears chairman, and hedge-fund billionaire Lampert will take over on 2 February.

Lampert founded Sears Holdings in 2005 by merging Sears, Roebuck & Co and Kmart. At that time this decision was lauded. However the merger has proved to be a shaky one. Last year revenue fell by $1.5 billion from the previous year, and in the nine months til October Sears lost $441 million.

The appointment of Lampert is a controversial one. During his reign as chairman Lampert has been criticised for his inability to help turn the company around. Sears is not doing well as sales continue to slide. Lampert’s transition will be a difficult one, and all eyes will be focused on him.

With over 2,600 stores in the US and Canada, Lampert’s top priorities will be  stopping the decline in sales, cutting costs and preserving cash flow. In order to stay on track to achieving his aims Lampert will find a detailed first 100 days plan invaluable.

There are a number of key performance accelerators that should be kept in mind when writing the plan. Such as;

  1. Focusing on leadership effectiveness
  2. Building a high performing team
  3. Building relationships
  4. Paying attention to your emotional intelligence

In what can be a chaotic, stressful and emotional time, putting a first 100 days plan into action will give structure and focus. The First100 approach is focused narrowly on the steps necessary to achieve success. By identifying his strategic priorities, setting measurable aims and making sure he meets them, Lampert will hit the ground running in his new role, and be on track to making an early impact.

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