Lululemon executive teams up with Sears Canada co-founder

The man who turned around Sears, Best Buy and Rona, to name a few companies, has returned to the private sector as the chairman and CEO of Alvarez & Marsal.

Perhaps best known for his stint as head of Sears Canada, Joly is one of the most active CEOs in the turnaround business. The 53-year-old has a three-year contract and will hold the roles of chairman of the management company’s advisory board and chair of the board’s audit committee.

“As one of the world’s most experienced and respected restructuring professionals, this is an ideal time for me to re-enter the private sector,” Joly said in a statement.

[Scroll down to see a teaser from The Wall Street Journal]

Under Joly’s leadership, Sears Canada has eliminated thousands of jobs, shuttered dozens of stores and reshaped its supply chain. He also steered Best Buy’s turnaround, which included a major reorganization in 2012 that cut costs and increased sales. This past March, Best Buy announced it would cut more than 10,000 jobs and close at least 17 stores.

In 2016, Alvarez & Marsal was awarded $123 million in tax refunds by the province of Quebec for outstanding tax liabilities that the province could not collect.

Under Joly’s supervision, Sears Canada closed or cut 642 stores in his four years at the helm of the company. The company, once an icon of Canadian retail, has struggled to attract customers amid increased competition from Target, Walmart and Amazon.

Joly has also engaged in a name change. When Sears Canada was formed in 1999, it was called Sears Holdings Corp. Under Joly, the company shortened its name to Sears Canada.

With growing competition from private brands and fast-fashion chains, along with the rise of Amazon and J. Crew, Sears Canada is on the path to dissolution, Crain’s reported in February. An estate liquidation will likely begin in early 2019.

And Best Buy, the once-iconic brick-and-mortar electronics retailer, closed 48 stores in the U.S. in 2017 and cut hundreds of jobs as part of its turnaround efforts. In March, Best Buy revealed that it would close 80 more stores in Canada and some locations in Asia.

“During the last quarter, we repositioned our strategy at Best Buy and won’t be adding a significant amount of store square footage,” Joly said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “The growth of the consumer online is not going to go away, but it’s changing the way the consumer interacts with the brand.”

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