Alan J. Lacy, the new president and chief executive of


(S) - Get Report

announced Friday the company will formally scuttle its Office of the Chief Executive, which he shared with another top executive during a recent succession battle.

Julian Day, the company's chief operating officer who shared the office as the two vied for the top job, will resign, the company said.

Lacy, the company's 46-year-old president of services, will succeed chairman and chief executive Arthur Martinez, who announced in March he planned to retire by the end of the year. Lacy, 46, will assume his new positions Oct. 1. In December, he will become the company's chairman, when Martinez retires. The company announced Lacy's selection on Sept. 11.

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Day, 47, joined Sears in March 1999 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. In September 1999, he became executive vice president and chief operating officer. He was named a member of the newly created Office of the Chief Executive, which included Lacy and Martinez.

Lacy joined the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company in 1994 as a senior vice president of finance. He was named executive vice president and chief financial officer the next year. He was named president of Sears Credit in 1997, and assumed his current position in September 1999.

Lacy said improving the company's performance in apparel sales will be a top priority. The retail giant is perhaps best known for hardware and appliances.

Business units that previously reported to Day will now report to Lacy, effective immediately, company said.

Sears made the announcement after the close of the market. Its stock did not trade after hours, according to


. Earlier, shares of Sears ended regular trading down 19 cents at $34.44.