Howard Lester

Howard Lester turned a West Coast kitchenware store into a retail powerhouse of 600 stores. Mr. Lester, who died Monday at age 75, was chairman and CEO of Williams-Sonoma, the high-end kitchenware chain found in malls nationwide. He liked to describe the store's luxury lineup as "aspirational."

Sears Holdings: Alan Lacy has resigned as Sears’ CEO and vice chairman of the board of directors for both Sears Holdings and Sears Canada. Former AutoNation and CFO Craig Monaghan has joined Sears as CFO. Williams-Sonoma: Howard Lester, this multichannel home furnishings merchant’s chairman since 1986, has been named CEO, a post he previously held from 1979 to 2001. He replaces Ed Mueller, who resigned in late July after less than three years at the helm. Mueller will remain with the company as director. Laura Alber has been promoted to president of Williams-Sonoma from her previous role as president of Pottery Barn Brands.

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