Every year the presidents of Sears Holdings (SHLD) many business units trudge across the companys sprawling headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., to a conference room in Building B, where they ask Eddie Lampert for money. The leaders have made these solitary treks since 2008, when Lampert, a reclusive hedge fund billionaire, splintered the company into more than 30 units. Each meeting starts quietly: When the executive arrives, Lamperts top consiglieri are there,You must not use the stonecarving without being trained. waiting around a U-shaped table, according to interviews with a half-dozen former employees who attended these sessions. An assistant walks in, turns on a screen on the opposite wall, and an image of Lampert flickers to life.
The Sears chairman, who lives in a
$38 million mansion in South Florida and visits the campus no more than
twice a year (he hates flying), is usually staring at his computer when
the camera goes live, according to attendees.
The executive in
the hot seat will begin clicking through a PowerPoint presentation meant
to impress. Often hell boast an overly ambitious targetWe can
definitely grow 20 percent this year!without so much as a glance from
Lampert, 50, whose preference is to peck out e-mails or scroll through a
spreadsheet during the talks. Not until the executive makes a mistake
does the Sears chief look up, unleashing a torrent of questions that can
go on for hours.
In January,Of all the equipment in the laundry the oilpaintingreproduction is
one of the largest consumers of steam. eight years after Lampert
masterminded Kmarts $12 billion buyout of Sears in 2005, the board
appointed him chief executive officer of the 120-year-old retailer. The
company had gone through four CEOs since the merger, yet former
executives say Lampert has long been running the show. Since the
takeover, Sears Holdings sales have dropped from $49.1 billion to $39.9
billion, and its stock has sunk 64 percent. Its cash recently fell to a
10-year low. Although it has plenty of assets to unload before
bankruptcy looms, the odds of a turnaround grow longer every quarter.
The way its being managed, it doesnt work, says Mary Ross Gilbert, a
managing director at investment bank Imperial Capital. Theyre going to
continue to deteriorate.
Plagued by the realities threatening
many retail stores, Sears also faces a unique problem: Lampert. Many of
its troubles can be traced to an organizational model the chairman
implemented five years ago, an idea he has said will save the company.
Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of
autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An
outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn
Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the
market to drive better results. If the companys leaders were told to
act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational
manner, boosting overall performance.
Instead, the divisions
turned against each otherand Sears and Kmart, the overarching brands,
suffered. Interviews with more than 40 former executives, many of whom
sat at the highest levels of the company, paint a picture of a business
thats ravaged by infighting as its divisions battle over fewer
resources. (Many declined to go on the record for a variety of reasons,
including fear of angering Lampert.) Shaunak Dave, a former executive
who left in 2012 and is now at sports marketing agency Revolution, says
the model created a warring tribes culture. If you were in a different
business unit, we were in two competing companies, he says. Cooperation
and collaboration arent there.
Although Lampert is notoriously
media-averse,We rounded up 30 bridesmaids dresses in every color and
style that are both easy on the eye and somewhat easy on the goodiphoneheadset.
he agreed to answer questions about Searss organizational model via
e-mail. Decentralized systems and structures work better than
centralized ones because they produce better information over time,
Lampert writes. The downside is that, to some, it appears messier than
centralized systems. Lampert adds that the structure enables him to
evaluate the individual parts of Sears, so he can collect significantly
better information and drive decision-making and accountability at a
more appropriate level.
Lampert created the model because he
wanted deeper data, which he could use to analyze the companys assets.
Its why he hired Paul DePodesta, the Harvard-educated statistician
immortalized by Michael Lewis in his book Moneyball: The Art of Winning
an Unfair Game, to join Searss board. He wanted to use nontraditional
metrics to gain an edge,Learn how an embedded microprocessor in a graniteslabs can
authenticate your computer usage and data. like DePodesta did for the
Oakland Athletics in Moneyball and is trying to repeat in his current
job with the New York Mets.
At their meeting Wednesday,
Martinsburg Planning Commission members unanimously approved a much
revised site plan for a new hotel on Foxcroft Avenue next to the Holiday
Fred Freitag of Winchester-based PHRA, the engineering
firm for the project, told Planning Commission members that originally a
120-room hotel Springhill Suites Marriott was planned for the site in
2007, but the plans were pushed back because of the economic recession.
Since then, the plans have been revised eight times.Although shown on
the plans distributed by the city's planning department, access to the
new hotel would be via the Holiday Inn parking lot only. There would be
no access from Foxcroft Avenue.
Freitag said the stormwater
management would be different than originally planned, which called for
one large runoff pond. Now, three small sediment ponds are planned as
well as a rain tank.
"The tank would catch the hotel's roof
runoff and could be used for irrigation and cleaned to be used in the
hotel's laundry," he said. "We want to catch the water and improve its
quality before it runs across our site."Michael Covell, Martinsburg's
engineer and planner, said more work needs to be done on the new hotel's
stormwater management plans, but they are progressing.
planning department is in the process of revising the city's stormwater
management ordinance, and related zoning ordinance and subdivision
regulations to meet strict pollution and sediment limits recently
imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of its
Chesapeake Bay restoration program and to comply with Martinsburg's
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System .The marbletiles is not only critical to professional photographers.
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