Sears Canada puts frmr U.S. Marine officer in charge as CEO departs retailer

TORONTO – Sears Canada (TSX:SCC) has named a former management consultant and U.S. Marine as its new president and chief executive, replacing the man who has been leading a multi-year project to revive the national retailer.

Calvin McDonald will be replaced as president and CEO by Douglas Campbell, who has been Sear Canada’s chief operating officer since November.

A Sears Canada spokesman says Campbell played a leading role in the recent success of the company’s major appliances business and had consulting experience with other retailers before joining the company in early 2011.

The company said McDonald — who has spearheaded a number of major initiatives to reposition the company in a hotly competitive marketplace — resigned to pursue an opportunity with a “leading international company.”

Sears Canada spokesman Vince Power said McDonald hasn’t informed the company where he’s going but he disputed a report that McDonald was leaving due to a disagreement with majority shareholder Sears Holdings Corp.

The Globe and Mail, citing a unidentified source, said the disagreement was tied to “the pace at which capital was being deployed to keep the momentum of the transformation going.”

But Power said he’s unaware of any dispute along the lines reported by the newspaper and insisted the reason for McDonald’s departure is the new job opportunity.

Neither McDonald nor Campbell were immediately available for interview.

In the company’s statement, McDonald said: “It has been an honour to lead an iconic Canadian retailer, and I look forward to your continued success.”

The company’s new CEO graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in economics, before serving as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He later received a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School and worked with Boston Consulting Group before joining Sears Canada.

“Doug’s disciplined approach has been instrumental in managing costs and driving efficiencies,” said William Crowley, chairman of the Sears Canada board of directors.

“We look forward to his leadership as we continue to improve profitability across the business. We believe that the future remains bright for a more focused and competitive Sears Canada.”

Campbell said in the statement that he looks forward to working with the Sears Canada management team “to continue to engage our customers and our 25,000 associates to better serve families and communities across Canada.”

Last month, Sears reported that its second-quarter revenue that was down 9.6 per cent from the same time last year. Revenue for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 3 was $960.1 million, down from $1.06 billion a year earlier.

Part of the revenue decline was a reduced number of locations, but same-store sales were also down 2.5 per cent.

Sears would have lost $11-million loss, or 11 cents per share, in the quarter except for an agreement to vacate two Toronto-area stores by March. With unusual gain, Sears Canada’s net income was $152.8 million or $1.50 per share.

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