In the wake of gaining approval to purchase Sears in a $5.2 billion lifeline bid, Chairman Eddie Lampert has stepped down from its Board of Directors, according to a company securities filing. Lampert had already stepped down as CEO of Sears when the company filed for bankruptcy in October 2018, but remained as Chairman to keep the business afloat during the auction process.
Lampert placed the winning bid for the retailer through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, after numerous previous attempts were rejected, so he will still serve as the owner of Sears Holdings as a private company.
His resignation relates to the completion of the transaction and is not the result of any disagreement with Sears, according to the filing. Another board member, ESL Investments President Kunal Kamlani, also resigned from the Board.
There has been no indication of who will serve as the next Chairman, or how Sears will undergo the search and selection process. When Lampert resigned as CEO, the Sears Board created an Office of the CEO, which is responsible for managing the company’s day-to-day operations as they search for the next chief executive.
Lampert’s departure may also position Sears more positively in the eyes of critics — namely creditors — if it means that the Board includes more outside influence. Unsecured creditors sought permission to sue Lampert for deals made under his tenure as Sears Chairman and CEO, filing an objection to the $5.2 billion bid in January.