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Joe Magnacca: RadioShack Fighting The Good Fight At Retail

Few would argue that Joe Magnacca inherited a mess – least of all the RadioShack CEO himself, who conceded last March that the ailing chain was in a deeper hole than he realized before taking what is arguably the most thankless job in retail.

Leveraging his learnings and top lieutenants from his days running New York-area drugstore chain Duane Reade, he threw himself into RadioShack’s woes and came up with a three-point turnaround plan that represented the 93-year-old company’s last and best hope.

But despite high-profile marketing, a showroom makeover and an overhauled merchandising strategy, years of neglect and the recessionary aftermath are proving a nearly insurmountable hurdle, and Magnacca blamed himself for trying to accomplish too much too soon, and overtaxing the company’s capabilities.

But this month he took a term lender to task for a sucker-punch move that could wreck recent Hail Mary financing that was crafted to carry the company through the holiday season and beyond.

A defiant Magnacca decried the default claim by Salus as “wrong and self-serving,” and an attempt to “manufacture a problem during the critical holiday shopping season in an effort to get out of a loan.”

Magnacca pledged to contest the claim, and to continue his rear-guard action against bankruptcy or insolvency to salvage an American retail icon.