Former Sears Chairman Brennan Passes Away

Burr Ridge, Ill. — Edward A. Brennan, chairman and ceo of Sears, Roebuck & Co. during its reign as the country's largest retailer, died Dec. 27. He was 73.

Brennan's career began as a salesman at a Sears store. He was one of a third generation of Brennans who worked for Sears. He rose through the ranks to become chairman and ceo of Sears Merchandise Group, as well as a member of the senior executive team that brought the company into the financial services business with the acquisition of Dean Witter Reynolds and Coldwell Banker, as well as the introduction of the Discover Card.

He was promoted to corporate president and coo in 1984, and was elevated to chairman and ceo in 1986.

Under his leadership, Sears embarked on a major renovation of many of its stores in the "Stores of the Future" campaign. Under this banner, the stores focused on apparel, home and automotive categories, and championed key brands.

Brennan retired from Sears and its board in 1995, then served on a number of corporate boards.

He is survived by his wife, six children, 19 grandchildren and two brothers, one of whom, Bernard, was the chairman and ceo of the former Montgomery Ward.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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