Despite burning through $1.6 billion in cash last year, Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) is hiring.
"They're hiring across the board" but particularly in electronics, Jason Hanold, CEO and founder of Chicago-based human resources executive search firm Hanold Associates told TheStreet. One position Sears could be looking to fill soon is the head of discounter Kmart. Alasdair James, president and chief member officer of Kmart since 2014, has reportedly abandoned the sinking ship.
He said the last person he placed at Sears was Jim Cavner about two and a half years ago. Cavner is Division Vice President, and now in charge of Sears' talent search.
Cavnar began working for Sears in 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile.
As crazy as it may seem, Hanold said some executives prefer joining a struggling company because they would feel bored and inconsequential at leading corporations like Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) or Alphabet's Google (GOOGL) .
"Some people love complexity," he said. "They love problem solving, adding value and making an impact. They think they can go in and fix it and be a part of this major turnaround."
To be fair, Hanold said not to count Sears out of the game yet.
"If you had asked me eight years ago, I would have said absolutely they're going bankrupt," he said. "But, you just don't know. I don't know if it's ever wise to bet against [CEO] Eddie Lampert."
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Still, the operator of Sears and Kmart stores is hanging on by mere threads. Shares of the company had been teetering near an all-time low of $5.50 earlier this year, only recently coming back to life because of a less bad fourth quarter than Wall Street feared (it was still pretty gruesome, however). In February, Fitch Ratings projected that the retailer would burn through another $1.8 billion in cash this year.
Unless Sears raises $2 billion this year, there is a strong likelihood it will be forced to file for bankruptcy protection. Fitch said the restructuring risk for Sears remains "high" over the next two years. Sears is also in the process of closing 150 under-performing Sears and Kmart stores.
Meanwhile, other consumer companies Hanold said he has worked with include private outdoor and apparel accessories retailer Patagonia and ski resort operator Vail Resorts (MTN) .
Hanold said he thinks Vail CEO Robert Katz is one of the best executives in the game right now, calling him "phenomenal" and touting his "great grit" and "perseverance."
"He's a doer, he's hands on, he knows his business," Hanold said. "Above all, he genuinely cares about his people. There's a lot of [executives] who act like they care...Rob really does."
Sears could have used a Katz type executive 10 years ago, that much is for sure.
Editors' pick: Originally published March 20.