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Lowe’s begins search for CEO

The CEO of the nation’s second-largest home improvement retailer is stepping down.

Lowe’s announced that Robert Niblock plans to retire as chairman, president and CEO of the retailer after a 25-year career with the company. The Lowe’s board has initiated a search for Niblock’s successor. Niblock will remain in his current role until a successor is found.

“After a 25-year career at Lowe’s, including 13 years as chairman and CEO, I am confident that it is the right time to transition the company to its next generation of leadership,” Niblock said in a statement. “Serving Lowe’s alongside our over 310,000 outstanding employees has been my great privilege and the highlight of my professional career. I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished to position Lowe’s as the omnichannel project authority,” the CEO said.

Niblock has served as chairman and CEO of Lowe’s since January 2005. In 2011, he reassumed the title of president, after having served in that role from 2003 to 2006. Niblock became a member of the board of directors when he was named chairman and CEO-elect in 2004.

He joined Lowe’s in 1993, and during his career with the company, has served as director of taxation, VP and treasurer, senior VP, and executive VP and CFO. Prior to joining Lowe’s, Niblock spent nine years with Ernst & Young.

“On behalf of our entire board and team here at Lowe’s, I want to thank Robert for his leadership, commitment and countless contributions to our company over the course of his distinguished 25-year Lowe’s career,” said Marshall Larsen, lead director of the Lowe’s board.

Since 2004 under Niblock, Lowe’s has seen annual sales grow from $36.5 billion to $68.6 billion in 2017. Over that same span, net income increased from $2.2 billion to $3.4 billion. In recent months, Lowe’s has come under fire by some shareholders who have argued that Lowe’s is lagging behind Home Depot and has not done enough to capitalize on a surge in the economy and home improvement.

In its most recent financial release, Lowe’s reported that its fourth quarter sales fell nearly 2% to $15.5 billion from $15.8 billion in the year-ago period, while profits were lower than expected. Fourth quarter net earnings of $554 million were down from $663 million in the same quarter a year ago.
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