Four top Sears Roebuck and Co. executives were let go and a fifth will retire in the first wave of top-level job cuts after Kmart Corp.'s U.S. $12.3 billion takeover of Sears was approved last week.
The heads of Sears Roebuck's human resources, public relations, information technology, and customer direct (Sears' catalog and online sales) will be replaced in the hierarchy of the new Sears Holdings Corp., according to an internal memo. Two will be replaced by Kmart executives, while two others will be replaced by their former employees at Sears.
Bill Bass, senior vice president of e-commerce at Lands' End and head of Sears' online and catalog operations, will be replaced by Kmart's Chris Shimojima, who becomes general manager of online and catalog sales for Sears Holdings. Garry Kelly, Sears Roebuck's chief information technology officer, will be replaced by Kmart's Karen Austin as chief information officer.
Bob O'Leary, head of public relations and government affairs, will be replaced by Edgar "Ted" McDougal of Sears. Greg Lee, who left Whirlpool to become head of Sears' human resources in December 2000, will be replaced by Bob Luse.
A fifth executive, William White III, executive vice president of Store Operations and a 34-year Sears veteran, will retire. Mr. White was general manager of Sears Roebuck's specialty stores, including appliance and hardware stores and the Orchard Supply chain.
The duties of Mr. White and Jerry Post, who also is retiring and who led Sears' move to build standalone stores away from malls, have been parceled out to others. Catherine David, whom Sears named to lead its Great Indoors home-decor chain last July, will take over Sears' two other stand-alone formats, Sears Essentials and Sears Grand.
Rob Lynch, who previously reported to Mr. White, will become general manager of the Orchard Supply hardware chain.
One key executive will report to a new boss. Luis Padilla, whom Sears hired from Marshall Field's to fill the role of merchandising, will now report to Aylwin Lewis, Kmart's former CEO who is now president of Sears Holdings and CEO of Kmart and Sears Retail. Mr. Padilla previously reported to Sears CEO Alan Lacy, who is now the CEO of Sears Holdings. (Chicago Tribune)
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