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Sears Holdings CEO to step down

Sears Holdings has announced president and CEO Aylwin B. Lewis will step down from his role on Feb. 2. Lewis also will step down from the Sears Holdings board of directors at that time, according to a statement from the company.

Lewis will be replaced in the interim by W. Bruce Johnson, who currently serves as executive vp-supply chain and operations. Sears Holdings “will immediately commence a formal search to identify a permanent chief executive officer,” the statement reads.

"We've accomplished a great deal under Aylwin's leadership and we are very grateful for his commitment to Sears during a critical time in the company's history,” said Edward Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings and head of ESL Investments.

Sears’ statement did not outline a specific reason for Lewis’ departure, but last week company representatives announced a series of sweeping changes in the retailer’s corporate structure. Lampert commented on the changes, saying, “We are entering a new phase in Sears' evolution as a multichannel retailer.”

“As we realign Sears into five different types of focused business units, we will be redefining how our leaders operate by giving them greater autonomy and accountability for their businesses,” Lampert said. “We intend to put in place an operating model that allows managers to act with the flexibility and speed required in today's dynamic and highly competitive marketplace.”

Johnson hails from Sears’ Kmart division, which he joined in 2003 after serving as director, organization and systems, at European retailer Carrefour. Prior to that, he spent 16 years in various roles at Colgate-Palmolive.

"I am excited to be taking on this role, and I am focused on continuing to transform Sears into a stronger, more efficient company,” Johnson said. “While Sears and our industry are facing many challenges, I believe that we are taking all the right steps to build a great retailer.”