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TheStreet Open House

3 CEOs Who Must Be Fired Immediately

Stocks in this article: SHLDBBYJCP

From November 2013:

This (seemingly positive short-term results) is what happens when you put MBA types or retail lifers in charge of a situation that requires dynamic wholesale transformation.
Managers can be fantastic at cleaning up near-term messes by cutting prices, realigning "teams" and slashing expenses. However, cats of this ilk tend not to be the best visionaries. The very thing physical retailers need, they lack and, worse yet, refuse to secure.

And from earlier this year with the focus on Best Buy:

If you removed the inventory from BBY, SHLD and JCP stores, nobody outside of a retail real estate salesperson would be able to tell the difference. Each building represents the soulless shell of a once-thriving industry treated with utter disrespect by Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com (AMZN) ...
Take products that intrigue and inspire, rearrange them around the store and you can make believers (or momo chasers) out of otherwise intelligent people.
Sign me up for Hubert Joly's gig. Please. I'll do my best not to feel guilty to the point of suicide for effectively stealing my salary from the rolls of a public corporation.

The story hasn't changed.

Figuratively speaking, Lampert, Joly and Ullman continue to steal money from the coffers of the public corporations they work for.

I mean I guess they're doing their jobs if they've been dispatched to stabilize things in the near-term. If, of course, you can call what they're doing meaningful stabilization. It does no good for the heart attack patient if medical staff brings him back to even, but fails to ensure he can thrive for many years after things went awry.

These CEOs and the portions of their rank and file that misguidedly believe in what amounts to business as usual are doing absolutely nothing to lay the foundation for and effectively implement sound futures at Sears, Best Buy or JCP. In fact, they're doing the opposite.

Call them the great enablers of retail.

It's not like they're even running the retail equivalent of, say, Vancouver's needle exchange program. It would be one thing if there was some thought beyond the culture of obviousness that persists in this dying sector. But there isn't.

Lampert, Joly and Ullman keep the false and toxic hope alive that the very same or some barely tweaked variation of what failed retail in the past will, miraculously, drag it from the abyss. That once external forces right themselves in this world, retail will get back on the road it left. They say they're looking within and recent results aren't good enough ...

To be clear, it is not because our performance is where we need it to be. It isn't (More Eddie "National Lampoon's" Lampert).

But that's clearly lip service because it's not accompanied by action that indicates a period of critical evaluation, thoughtful introspection and wholesale organizational change. 

They're enablers. In the true sense of the word. Addicted to the same old drugs that got them into the mess they're in.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks. Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.
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