Sears Canada CEO to depart by year-end, return to U.S. for family reasons

TORONTO – Sears Canada (TSX:SCC) says its chief executive intends to resign and return to the United States by the end of the year for personal reasons.

The retailer’s board has begun searching for a replacement for Douglas Campbell, a former U.S. Marine who has been president and CEO of Sears Canada for about a year.

Campbell joined Sears Canada in March 2011 and became its No. 2 executive in November 2012 before he was promoted to the top spot last September after Calvin McDonald announced he was leaving to join another company.

The company and its U.S. counterpart were recently hit with a class action lawsuit by about 250 current and former operators of Sears Hometown Stores, who allege that Sears Canada and Sears Roebuck made it “virtually impossible” for them to operate profitably. Sears says the allegations are without merit.

Campbell’s announcement comes as Canadian and American retailers gear up for the important holiday shopping season, often the most profitable time of the year.

Sears Canada is controlled by U.S. financier Edward Lampert, who directly and indirectly owns a large majority of its stock including through his stake in Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq:SHLD).

The Canadian company said Thursday that it’s co-operating with a previously announced Sears Holdings’ strategic review of its 51 per cent interest in Sears Canada.