Former Avaya CEO Named To Top Post At Sears


Louis D'Ambrosio, the dynamic former CEO of Avaya, was this week named CEO and President of Sears Holdings.

It's a return to a high-profile executive suite for D'Ambrosio, who ran Avaya from 2006 to 2008, and is well known in the channel from his years at Avaya and a 16-year stint at IBM.

Sears Holdings, which was formed from the 2005 merger of Sears, Roebuck and Co. with Kmart Holdings Corp., owns and operates Sears and Kmart stores. It is the ninth largest retailer by annual revenue in the United States.

"From the beginning of our CEO search, we were determined to find a leader with information and technology experience who could catalyze the transformation of our portfolio of businesses in the context of the evolution of the retail industry that is occurring more broadly," said Edward S. Lampert, chairman of Sears Holding's board of directors, in a statement. "Lou is a proven winner and I am excited to have him as the leader of the company."

D'Ambrosio stepped down as CEO of Avaya in June 2008 for medical reasons, creating a vacancy in Avaya's top job that eventually went to current CEO Kevin Kennedy.

Before taking over as Avaya's CEO, D'Ambrosio was senior vice president of Avaya's global services business unit, and later president of sales and marketing. During his CEO tenure, Avaya became a private company, agreeing to an $8.3 million deal to be acquired by private equity firms Silver Lake and TPG Capital in 2007.

Before Avaya, D'Ambrosio was best-known for his years IBM, where he was considered a fast-track executive and "marketing maestro." His last position at Big Blue was as vice president of sales and marketing for IBM's then-$12 billion software group. D'Ambrosio left IBM in August 2002.

In the years following his departure from Avaya, D'Ambrosio resurfaced as non-executive chairman of Sensus, a smart metering, communications and clean technology vendor. According to Sears, D'Ambroaio has been a consultant to Sears Holdings' board of directors for the past six months. He will become CEO and a member of the board effective Feb. 24.

"We have a committed team, tens of millions of customers and a storied heritage," said D'Ambrosio in a statement. "While change and reinvention are inevitable, the opportunity in front of us is compelling and exciting. I look forward to working with the team in serving our customers in extraordinary ways, creating a special workplace, and delivering value to our shareholders."

D'Ambrosio succeeds W. Bruce Johnson, who was interim CEO and president during Sears' executive search process.