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In addition to changing CEOs, Chairman Eddie Lampert is also stepping back from day-to-day management of Sears Holding Corp.

It was a humbling admission from the powerful hedge fund manager that his hands-on style and three-year-old strategy for Sears and Kmart are not working.

Until now, the heads of several major departments, like marketing and merchandising, reported directly to Mr. Lampert, even though he has no background in retailing or advertising. But from now on, those department heads will report only to the chief executive, the company said.

The executive changes appeared to answer two criticisms: that the company lacks a management team with the retail experience to pull off a turnaround and that Mr. Lampert, 45, is a micromanager who is hampering, rather than helping, the business.

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