When merchandising guru David F. Dyer left Sears, Roebuck and Co. and his post as head of Lands’ End last fall, Sears named Mindy Meads as the apparel unit’s executive vice president for merchandising and design. Sears also named her as one of three members of a tripartite Lands’ End office of the president with Lee Eisenberg, executive vice president and chief creative and administrative officer, and Dennis Honan, chief operating officer.
Now Meads, who joined Lands’ End, one of the most successful web retailers, as a merchandising executive in 1991, will succeed Dyer as the Lands’ End sole top executive, taking the combined title of president and CEO. Eisenberg is leaving Sears to pursue personal interests, a spokeswoman says, declining to elaborate. Honan will retain his title as COO and report to Meads.
Meads, who will retain her position as Sears executive vice president for apparel, reporting to Sears CEO Alan Lacy, is now in a stronger position to control how Sears can build on the Lands’ End brand and produce more cross-selling in its stores, says Heather Brilliant, analyst who follows Sears for investment research firm Morningstar Inc. Sears acquired Lands’ End in 2002. But Meads still faces the challenge of leveraging the Lands’ End name to bring more shoppers to Sears. “Sears has been hoping to get Lands’ End buyers in Sears stores to also buy Sears apparel, but that hasn’t happened much so far,” Brilliant says.
But she notes that Meads is well regarded for her apparel expertise and should be a good fit in helping Sears build a reputation in apparel. “She’s pretty well regarded in apparel,” Brilliant says. “This promotion wasn’t unexpected.”