Posted Jan. 30, 2008 – Aylwin B. Lewis has been booted out as president and chief executive of Sears Holdings Corp., marking the abrupt departure of yet another high-profile African-American honcho at a major corporation.
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His leaving will leave a serious management void at the top of the department store chain, which is controlled by Chairman Edward S. Lampert, The Associated Press reports. His departure follows slow holiday sales and the store’s announcement that it must restructure to reconnect with customers and reinvigorate slumping sales, according to AP.
Before taking over the helm of Sears in 2004, Lewis was a leader at Yum Brands Inc. and was a retail novice when he was chosen by Lampert to run Kmart and later Sears. Lewis has been replaced by W. Bruce Johnson while the company seeks a permanent successor.
Lewis joins the ranks of Merrill Lynch’s E. Stanley O'Neal, Fannie Mae Chairman and CEO Franklin Raines and Richard Parsons of Time Warner, Inc., who have announced their resignations over the past several months.
Among the Black CEOs still holding down their positions are include Kenneth Chenault of American Express, Ronald Williams of Aetna, Clarence Otis of Darden Restaurants, John Thompson of Symantec, and Rodney O'Neal of Delphi Systems.