Sears' Eddie Lampert Is "Worst CEO of the Year"

The fact that Eddie Lampert isn’t even a CEO didn’t stop Herb Greenberg at Marketwatch from slapping the coveted “Worst CEO of the Year” award on him. Eddie beat out such unemployed luminaries as Chuck “Whoops” Prince, formerly of Citigroup, and Ed “I Hate My Customers” Zander, formerly of Motorola.

There was no mention of Mark “Anybody Wanna Buy A Subprime Lender?” Ernst, of H&R Block. Or JetBlue’s David “Mortified” Neeleman, a nice guy who apologized himself right out of a job.

Angelo “You Can Afford It” Mozilo
of Countrywide was scoffed at a bit, as was Kerry “KerKil” Killinger of WaMu. Mesa Airlines “Jonathan Ornstein received the most write-in votes by employees, investors and employees of competitors.” Impressive.

And no, Phil “Pink Slip” Schoonover of Circuit City didn’t win either, even after firing the last 6 people at Circuit City who knew anything about televisions.

It was Chairman Eddie Lampert of Sears Holdings, because he apparently has absolutely no idea how to run a bunch of stores:

Lampert’s mantra has been profits over sales, which makes sense if it works. As recently as March, in his shareholder letter, he suggested better times were imminent when he said, “We believe we have stabilized Kmart’s Ebitda and are now in a position to grow from that base.” But retailers, especially those trying to improve themselves, require considerable capital infusions to drive sales.

So far, for all of Sears, including Kmart, the strategy has failed miserably. Not only have same-store sales (which Lampert says are “overrated” as a metric) gone deeper into the red, but gross margins, Ebitda and operating income for Kmart are also going in the wrong direction.

Yes. “How much stuff a store is selling” is overrated as an indicator of the health of a store. Excellent.

Worst CEO award goes to Sears’ Lampert [Marketwatch]