Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack’s newly-installed chairman/CEO Julian Day is wasting little time reshaping senior management at the beleaguered CE chain.
Within one month of his assuming office, three top executives will have left the company, including president and COO Claire Babrowski, who formally steps down next Friday, and former CFO David Barnes, who exited within a week of Day’s appointment for another post.
The most recent departure is that of Jim Hamilton, executive VP of merchandising and marketing, whose departure was announced Friday. Hamilton and Barnes were key players in a major management restructuring last year under former president/CEO David Edmondson that is now being dismantled by Day.
Hamilton’s position has been eliminated as part of a restructuring and workforce reduction that will cut upwards of 450 positions through September, including employees at all levels of RadioShack headquarters. The company is also looking to save approximately $30 million in fiscal 2006 from reallocation of marketing resources. His duties will be assumed by Wes Lowzinski, senior VP/ general merchandise manager, and marketing senior VP Tori Binau.
Similarly, Babrowski’s COO position will not be filled.
Day, 54, is regarded as a retail turnaround specialist with a knack for cost cutting, and is credited with leading Kmart out of bankruptcy during his tenure there as president and later CEO. Earlier this month he named fellow Sears and Kmart veteran James Gooch to succeed Barnes as CFO, citing the former’s “wonderful track record of imposing order and financial rigor.”
Babrowski’s departure came as a surprise to retail analysts who had commended her operational skills and her performance as acting CEO, a position she assumed in February after resume irregularities led to Edmonson’s resignation. “We view this departure as a negative,” observed Banc of America’s David Strasser. “We thought of the Day-Babrowski duo as a ‘Dream Team’ of managers with the combination of both financial and operational expertise at the helm.”
Babrowski joined RadioShack one year ago as VP/COO after leaving her position as chief restaurant operations officer at McDonald’s — where she began her career behind the counter at age 16 — and had been a leading candidate for RadioShack’s CEO slot .In a statement, she thanked her co-workers for making “my time here so memorable. I am proud of the progress we made together and will be cheering from the sidelines as they take RadioShack to the next horizon.”