Well, that was a surprise. Not the announcement that Sears Holdings
In reality, Lewis had little chance for success from the start. He came from Yum! Brands
True, many companies think that bringing in an "outsider" offers a fresh perspective, but instead, investors often come away disillusioned. Simply having run a previous company isn't always enough. It's more important for a CEO to have a thorough knowledge of the business, and how it fits into its industry.
While outsider CEOs have certainly enjoyed some successes, their ranks are also littered with abundant failures. Blockbuster's founders nearly ruined the Boston Chicken franchise when they took over. Home Depot
Yet with Lampert running the fiefdom, having divisions report directly to him, Lewis was left with little more than a title and a figurehead position. Even if his role was more operational, Lampert didn't give him much to work with there, either.
As a numbers guy, Lampert seemed more interested in financial gimmickry than retail basics. He slashed costs to get Sears to post profits, rather than investing in his stores to build and strengthen its brand as a retailer. While Wal-Mart
Sears is now being broken up into five autonomous divisions, with Lampert supposedly staying out of the decision-making. Certainly, the company needs a fresh infusion of some sort of entrepreneurial spirit -- assuming it isn't already too little, too late.
Lewis' abrupt departure creates a void that might be tricky to fill. Then again, I'm not sure this will be too big a problem. After all, who really remembered that Lewis was there in the first place?
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Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Wal-Mart, but he does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.