Sears CFO Reidy to Step Down; Management Shakeup Continues

Last Updated Oct 13, 2008 2:31 PM EDT

Sears Holding Corp LogoSears Holdings Corp. has reported that Chief Financial Officer J. Miles Reidy will step down later this year to "attend to a family issue." The resignation comes amid slumping sales at the struggling department-store retailer, which continues to deal with customer defections to discount rivals, resulting from outdated store designs and complaints about warranty services and inventory mismanagement, such as too much seasonal apparel in stock last year. Reidy's exit follows the abrupt departure of former Chief Executive Aylwin B. Lewis in January 2008.

A look at a June 2008 amendment to Reidy's employment offer -- less than eight months after he joined the company in September 2007 -- suggests that Reidy and his family could not reconcile with moving to Chicago, a relocation requirement to have originally been fulfilled by July 15:
  • You will be asked to sign an Addendum to your September 7, 2007 Executive Severance Agreement, which Addendum incorporates the change to your relocation requirement from July 15, 2008 to March 31, 2009.
  • With respect to the vesting conditions applicable to the grant of restricted stock you received (valued at $750,000) under the Sears Holdings 2006 Stock Plan, the restricted shares will be scheduled to vest in full as of the third anniversary of the grant date, provided, however, that no vesting will occur in the event you and your immediate family have not relocated to the greater Chicago area by March 31, 2009.
Mr. Reidy, who joined Sears Holdings from Capital One Financial, rang up temporary living and other relocation-related expenses in the aggregate of $66,125 for the three-months ended 2007, according to the March 2008 Proxy Statement. Unknown is whether Chairman Edward Lampert will require Reidy to repay his $250,000 sign-on bonus, as Reidy "voluntarily terminated his employment within two years of his date of hire."
  • David Phillips

    David Phillips has more than 25 years' experience on Wall Street, first as a financial consultant and then as an equity analyst for several investment banking firms. He sifts through SEC filings for his blog The 10Q Detective, looking for financial statement soft spots, such as depreciation policies, warranty reserves and restructuring charges. He has been widely quoted in outlets such as BusinessWeek, The International Herald Tribune, Investor's Business Daily, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and The Wall Street Journal.

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