Edward Scott Lampert
July 19, 1962
Roslyn, New York, US
|Occupation||Hedge fund manager|
|Title||Chairman of Transform Holdco LLC|
|Board member of|
|Chairman, Sears Holdings|
January 2013 – February 14, 2019
|Preceded by||Herman Darling|
|Succeeded by||None (assets sold to Transform Holdco LLC)|
|Chairman, Transform Holdco LLC|
|Assumed office |
Edward Scott Lampert (born July 19, 1962) is an American businessman, investor, and billionaire. He is the former CEO and chairman of Sears Holdings (SHLD), founder of Transform Holdco LLC, and founder, chairman, and CEO of ESL Investments. Until May 2007 he was a director of AutoNation. He previously served as a director of AutoZone, Inc. from July 1999 to October 2006.
Early life and education
Lampert was born in 1962 to Dolores Lampert and Floyd M. Lampert. He is Jewish. His mother was a housewife. His father was a senior partner in the law firm of Lampert & Lampert in New York City. He has a younger sister Tracey. Lampert's grandmother was a passive investor and a fan of Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street Week television program. She instilled in him an interest in investing. His mother would later recall that young Eddie would sit with his grandmother reviewing and evaluating the performance of her stock picks in the daily newspaper.
Lampert's father died in 1977, and his mother took a job as a clerk at Saks Fifth Avenue. His mother would later say: "Eddie really assumed the responsibility, knowing that life had changed and we had to accomplish something by ourselves now." In order to help support his family, Lampert worked after school and on weekends at various warehouses, stocking shelves and filling orders. Despite working, he earned good grades, played both soccer and basketball, and won the scholar athlete award at his high school. He received financial aid to help pay for college. Lampert graduated from Yale University in 1984 (B.A., economics, summa cum laude), where he was a member of Skull and Bones and Phi Beta Kappa.
In July 1984, Lampert worked as an intern at Goldman Sachs, and then worked in the firm's risk arbitrage department from March 1985 to February 1988. While there, he worked directly with Robert Rubin. When Lampert decided to go out on his own, Rubin warned him it would be a bad career decision.
In April 1988, Lampert left the bank to form ESL Investments, based in Greenwich, Connecticut (the name ESL derives from Lampert's initials). Richard Rainwater, whom Lampert had met on Nantucket Island, gave him $28 million in seed money and introduced him to clients, such as David Geffen.
Lampert typically holds his investments for several years and usually has between three and fifteen stocks in his portfolio. His investment style has drawn comparisons to the financier Warren Buffett.
Lampert's earnings in 2004 were estimated to be $1.02 billion, making him the first Wall Street financial manager to exceed an income of $1 billion in a single year. In 2006, Lampert was featured on the Time 100 list for most influential people in the world for being one of the "brightest minds on Wall Street" and leading a new class of activist hedge funds. Lampert was the richest person in Connecticut in 2006 with a net worth of $3.8 billion.
In March 2012, Lampert was No. 367 on the Forbes world wealthiest people list with a net worth of $3.1 billion. By August, 2016, Lampert had fallen to No. 810 on the list, with a net worth of $2.2 billion.
In January 2013, it was announced that Lampert would take over as chief executive officer at Sears after Louis D'Ambrosio stepped down due to family health matters, which took effect in May 2013. In July 2016 he held 28% of shares in Sears Holdings Corp worth approximately $408 million.
In early 2017, Lampert, then president, chief executive officer and top shareholder of Sears Holdings, was estimated to have personal assets of $2 billion, primarily in the hedge fund ESL Investments Inc. Early in the year, he committed to providing an additional loan of $500 million to Sears and said he would provide letters of credit to Sears for additional amounts, reportedly totaling $200 million and possibly increasing to a half billion dollars in the future.
He has been criticized by employees and corporate staff for "shredding" his employees in corporate meetings and "being out of touch with reality," as well as for failing to invest in the physical stores, as many of them are deteriorating. During his tenure as CEO, Sears lost around half its value within five years, and closed more than half of its physical stores.
On October 15, 2018, Lampert stepped down as CEO of Sears Holdings, while remaining Chairman of the Board, as part of Sears Holdings bankruptcy actions. On December 6, 2018 Lampert, through his company ESL Investments, offered to buy all of Sears for $4.6 billion dollars in cash and stock. The offer would be financed by $950 million in added debt, but no additional cash. Five hundred stores remain in operation; the remainder are in liquidation. According to a company filing, Lampert stepped down as chairman of Sears Holdings Corp on February 14, 2019.
In January 2019, a group of Sears' creditors hoping to persuade a federal judge to force Sears to liquidate alleged that Lampert had orchestrated a "multiyear and multifaceted scheme" to strip away the company's assets and benefit from its decline.
In 2001, Lampert married Kinga Keh, an attorney with whom he has three children. They own houses in Indian Creek Village, Florida, in Aspen, Colorado, and in Greenwich, Connecticut (designed by the architect Michael Dwyer and the interior designer Rose Tarlow). The couple are active members of their local Chabad house.
In 2003, Lampert was kidnapped from the parking lot of his Greenwich office, but was able to persuade his captors to let him go after two days of captivity and promising to pay a ransom.
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...took over as Sears CEO in 2013 ... has presided over a remarkable dismantling.
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The company may need $2.5 billion in cash to get through 2017 amid sales declines and store closures, including almost $600 million in minimum pension contributions.
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