According to people that have knowledge of the encounter, Ford’s soon to be retired CEO Alan Mulally had meetings with Sears Holdings Corp’s Eddie Lampert.
The Sears controlling shareholder is said to have met with Mulally sometime earlier this year, and according to the two sources he sought tips on how to spawn a turnaround for the troubled retailer. According to the two people, Lampert, who is a billionaire hedge fund manager, went to Ford’s headquarters either in February or March to see Mulally – although from now the account differs.
“I am glad to share the Ford story because there are a lot of lessons learned there,” said Mulally on CNBC television about a possible Sears move. “When I graduate on July 1st, I’m going to really think about where I am going to serve next.”
One of the persons said that Mulally was left with the impression that Lampert, currently serving as Sears’ chairman and CEO, was touting the chief executive position to the retiring manager, who would become available since July – and a move to another domain is highly plausible, as the No.2 US automaker for sure would impose on a clause of non-competing to Mulally. On the other hand, the second source said there was no search for a new Sears CEO and Mulally was not offered a job – with Lampert only seeking advice on the turnaround efforts and the process of building a feasible executive structure.