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Sears Holdings Corp. announced this morning that its president/CEO, Aylwin B. Lewis, will step down at the end of the week. He will be succeeded on an interim basis by W. Bruce Johnson, the company’s executive vice president of supply chain and operations, while the board conducts a search for a new and permanent CEO.

The move comes a week after Sears said that it would change its organizational structure as a way of improving performance. "We are entering a new phase in Sears' evolution as a multi-channel retailer, as reflected by the new operational structure we recently announced, and the board has determined that now is the right time to put in place new leadership to take the company forward," said Chairman Edward S. Lampert, in a statement.

Lewis, who previously was president and chief multi-branding and operating officer for restaurant company Yum Brands, joined Sears in October 2004.
KC's View:
When Lewis moved over to Sears, he told the New York Times, , "I would not have left the situation I was in at Yum Brands to come to a company that was not interested in being a growth company, in winning in the marketplace, and operating great stores to serve unmet consumer needs. I'm here to make the Kmart brand a super retailing brand in the United States."

Ah, well. Sometimes things don't work out…

When Lewis joined Sears back in 2004, I wrote that I was reminded of an old joke…and it came to mind once again with this morning’s announcement…

When Bill Gates died, he went up to Heaven, where Saint Peter showed him to his home - a beautiful 20-room house, with grounds and a tennis court that thrilled the deceased founder of Microsoft.

But one day, when Gates was enjoying one of Heaven's many fine parks, he ran into a man dressed in a fine tailored suit. "That is a nice suit, my friend," said Gates. "Where did you get it?"

"Actually," the man replied, "I was given a hundred of these when I got here. I've been treated really well. I got a mansion on a hill overlooking a beautiful hill, with a huge five-hundred-acre estate, a golf course, and three Rolls Royces."

"Were you a Pope, or a doctor healing the sick?" asked Gates. "No," said his new friend, "Actually, I was the captain of the Titanic."

Hearing this made Gates so angry that he immediately stalked off to find St. Peter. Cornering Peter, he told him about the man he had just met, saying, "How could you give me a paltry new house, while you're showering new cars, a mansion, and fine suits on the Captain of the Titanic? I invented the Windows operating system! Why does he deserve better?"

St. Peter replied, "Ah, but the Titanic only crashed once."

Which makes me want to suggest a new Sears marketing slogan:

“Just one more crash.”