In February 2004, Mindy Meads was promoted to CEO of Dodgeville, WI-based Lands’ End. But as of Aug. 4 she no longer works there.
All parent company Sears Holdings will say is that Meads has left the company. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a former Sears employee told MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT, “I know very few people who leave Sears voluntarily. Generally people love working there, and it would be surprising that a person would simply get up and leave.”
Just four months ago Sears chairman Edward Lampert refuted rumors that Lands’ End was for sale. At that time Lampert referred to the apparel and home goods merchant as “a great American brand that we can run very well.” But speculation remains that Sears, which is best known as a hard-line retailer, is having difficulty integrating the soft-goods company into its operations and brand.
“The attempt to integrate Lands’ End may remind people of ‘the softer side of Sears’ campaign, which was not well received,” says the anonymous source.
Others speculate that Meads left because she feared that Sears would begin selling Lands’ End merchandise in its Kmart stores, which could diminish the brand value of Lands’ End.
David McCreight, formerly the executive vice president of merchandising, international, and sourcing for Lands’ End, has replaced Meads on an interim basis. McCreight joined Lands’ End in December 2003; he was previously a senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Disney Stores Worldwide and president of garden accessories cataloger/retailer Smith & Hawken.