Sharper Image Replaces CEO Lightman

Just 10 months after taking on the job of rescuing the high-tech gadgets and gifts merchant, Steve Lightman is out of Sharper Image Corp. He was replaced Feb. 14 as the San Francisco-based retailer’s CEO.

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

The Sharper Image did not say whether Lightman resigned or was terminated, but did say in a release that the move was effective immediately. 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.

Conway has more than 25 years of experience advising companies on financial and operational issues as a banker, consultant, and senior executive officer, and brings with him a team of his own specialists to assist in addressing business improvements and help implement necessary operational changes, according to a press release.

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.

Despite a solid plan to revive the beleaguered retailer, and Lightman’s experience in direct-to-consumer, sales at Sharper Image still tumbled.
The merchant’s total sales for fiscal year 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.

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