Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock to Retire
Lowe's announced Monday that CEO Robert Niblock will retire from the home improvement retailer as soon as the company finds a successor. "After a 25-year career at Lowe's, including 13 years as chairman and CEO, I am confident that it's the right time to transition the company to its next generation of leadership," the 54-year-old Niblock said in a statement. CNBC reports Lowe's has increasingly lagged behind its biggest rival, Home Depot. In the most recent quarter, Lowe's same-store sales climbed a little more than 4 percent, while Home Depot reported an increase of 7.5 percent. In talks with activist investors D.E. Shaw & Co., Lowe's has since appointed new board members to switch up the home retailer's strategy to keep pace with Home Depot.
Total Retail's Take: Lowe's has been unable to keep pace with the rapid growth of Home Depot, its chief competitor, so it's not entirely surprising that Niblock has decided its time to step aside. I find it interesting that Lowe's announced Niblock's departure before they had his successor lined up. To me that suggests this was more of a rash decision — perhaps Niblock was under increasing pressure from the company's board of directors — than a well-planned succession strategy. Home Depot has beat out Lowe's in sales for the last six years and is planning on doubling its capital spending in appliance sales in the next three years, one of Lowe's strongest merchandise verticals. Lowe's has an opportunity to grow digitally and in a new direction with a new CEO.