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Sharper Image names a new chief executive

March 27, 2007|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Struggling specialty retailer Sharper Image Corp. hired direct marketing veteran Steven A. Lightman in its latest attempt to end a bruising sales slump that has lasted for more than two years.

The San Francisco-based company said Monday that Lightman would take over as president and chief executive April 9. He will also join Sharper Image's board of directors.

Interim CEO Jerry Levin will remain chairman, a job he assumed six months ago after Sharper Image ousted founder Richard Thalheimer as its leader.

Lightman, 50, most recently ran Crosstown Traders Inc., a direct marketer specializing in women's clothing, shoes and accessories.

Known for a quirky mix of high-tech gadgets that have traditionally appealed to men, Sharper Image has been mired in a deep funk since its sales peaked at $760 million in its fiscal year ended in January 2005.

About $250 million in annual sales have evaporated since, a slide that has resulted in more than $65 million in reported losses and erased two-thirds of Sharper Image's market value.

The company's deteriorating stock performance provoked a rebellion last year by an investment group that brought in Levin, who previously ran several other retailers, including Revlon Inc. and Coleman Co.

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