Lightman out of Sharper Image

Just 10 months after taking on the job of rescuing the high-tech gadgets and gifts merchant, Steven Lightman was replaced Feb. 14 as Sharper Image Corp.’s CEO.

The beleaguered San Francisco-based retailer brought in turnaround specialist Robert Conway to replace Lightman, just two weeks after announcing its total sales for fiscal year 2007 had slipped 26%.

Conway is a principal and founder at New York-based Conway, Del Genio, Gries, & Co., a financial advisory firm providing restructuring, crisis, and turnaround management, and merger and acquisition services.

Lightman came to Sharper Image in April 2007, seven months after the company’s board booted founder/chairman/CEO Richard Thalheimer. He had been president of multititle apparel mailer Crosstown Traders from October 2002 until he left in January 2007.

Lightman put together a management team and a plan to fix the cataloger/retailer. But sales at Sharper Image still tumbled.

Sharper Image’s total sales for fiscal 2007 were $374.9 million compared to $506.7 million for the prior fiscal year. And its sales in 2006 had slipped 22% from $650.3 million the year before.