Sears Holdings will be led by a trio of executives following its bankruptcy filing Monday.
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The floundering retail company, which owns the Sears and Kmart department store chains, announced its decision to seek Chapter 11 protection following years of declining sales. Sears Holdings plans to close another 142 stores, both Kmart and Sears outlets, out of roughly 700 total by the end of 2018, and it’s in negotiations for a $300 million loan from outgoing CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments. An additional $300 million in financing from existing lenders will help keep Sears operational in bankruptcy.
Lampert, who orchestrated the merger of Sears and Kmart in 2005, will remain the company’s chairman as it begins its restructuring. Effective immediately, Lampert has passed CEO duties to a new Office of the CEO.
Chief Financial Officer Robert A. Riecker, Chief Digital Officer Leena Munjal and President of Apparel and Footwear Gregory Ladley will comprise the Office of the CEO and assume responsibilities for running Sears’ day-to-day operations.
Mohsin Meghji, a managing director of corporate advisory firm M-III Partners, will serve as chief restructuring officer in another move announced Monday.
“While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the company’s immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer,” Lampert said in a statement.
He added, “As we look toward the holiday season, Sears and Kmart stores remain open for business and our dedicated associates look forward to serving our members and customers.”
Sears hasn’t recorded an annual profit since 2011. Prior to its bankruptcy, Sears closed hundreds of other stores, spun off real-estate assets and Land’s End, sold the Craftsman brand and partnered with Amazon to sell Kenmore appliances in a turnaround effort. Lampert also provided financing through short-term loans from his hedge fund.