Dev Mukherjee becomes 3rd leader of critical business segment to resign in 4 years
Dev Mukherjee, president of the home appliances business at Sears since November 2010, is the latest executive to leave the Hoffman Estates-based retailer, the Tribune learned. Mukherjee is expected to depart by the end of this week, said Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite.
Sears, the nation's largest seller of appliances, didn't give a reason for his departure. The company, operator of Sears and Kmart stores, expects to announce a replacement "in the next few weeks," Brathwaite said.
Mukherjee is the third appliance chief to leave Sears in four years. The former Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. marketing executive joined Sears in 2007 as senior vice president of innovation. He was named president of the toys and seasonal business in 2009 before taking over the high-profile appliances post.
Mukherjee's departure comes two weeks after Sears swung to a $2.4 billion loss for the fiscal fourth quarter on a 4 percent drop in revenue, dragged down by sales declines in appliances and consumer electronics.
Sears has been trying to revive its core appliance business, including its marquee Kenmore line, for years to combat increased competition from big-box rivals, including Home Depot and Lowe's. Appliance sales account for about 15 percent of Sears Holdings' overall sales.
Mukherjee took the top appliance job after Doug Moore, a former Circuit City executive, left Sears in late 2010 after two years in the post. Tina Settecase, who had run Sears' appliance business since billionaire Edward Lampert took control of Sears in 2005, left the company in 2008.
Sears recently began selling two in-house brands, Craftsman tools and DieHard batteries, outside of Sears-owned stores for the first time, a move that critics contend could cut into sales at Sears and Kmart stores. The retailer has yet to sell Kenmore-branded products outside its own stores.
Sears also announced last month that it plans to spin off its small-format hometown dealer stores and Sears outlets and plans to sell 11 Sears mall stores to raise cash and shore up its money-losing retail business.
John Goodman, chief of Sears Holdings' apparel and home division, left the company in January after two years in the post. His departure followed the arrival of Ron Boire, the former Brookstone president and CEO, as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Sears and Kmart brands.