New York -- In a surprise move, Sears Holdings Corp. announced that CEO Louis J. D'Ambrosio will step down as CEO, effective Feb. 2, for family health reasons. D'Ambrosio will be replaced by the company's chairman and its largest shareholder, Edward Lampert.
The surprise move fuels more uncertainty at the retailer, which has struggled with ongoing declines in sales for the past five years. In announcing D’Ambrosio’s resignation, Sears also announced it expects to report a $280 million to $360 million loss ($2.64 to $3.40 per share) in the fourth quarter, which ends Feb. 2. The loss includes a non-cash charge of $450 million in pension settlements and $42 million in pension expenses.
D'Ambrosio became CEO of Sears Holdings in February 2011. He was previously president and CEO of Avaya Inc., a communications company. Before joining Avaya, D'Ambrosio spent 16 years at IBM Corp.
Sears said D'Ambrosio will remain on the board until May 2013.
"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 Holdings,” said Lampert 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.”
The nature of the health issues affecting D'Ambrosio's family was not disclosed.