Thursday, May 1, 2008

Edward Lampert, American Investor

Edward S. "Eddie" Lampert (born July 19, 1962) is an American investor, financier and businessman.

He is the chairman of Sears Holdings Corporation(SHLD) and founder, chairman, and CEO of ESL Investments. Until May, 2007 he was a director of AutoNation, Inc. He previously served as a director of AutoZone, Inc. from 1999 to 2006.

Lampert graduated from Yale University in 1984 (B.A., economics, summa cum laude), where he was a member of Skull and Bones and Phi Beta Kappa. He was an intern at Goldman Sachs in July 1984, and worked in the firm's risk arbitrage department from March 1985 to February 1988. He worked directly with Robert Rubin; when Lampert decided to go out on his own, Rubin warned it was a bad career decision.

He left the bank to form ESL Investments, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, in April 1988. The name ESL derives from Lampert's initials. Richard Rainwater, whom he had met on Nantucket Island, gave him $28 million in seed money and introduced him to clients, such as Geffen. In 2003, he was kidnapped from the parking lot of his office, but Lampert convinced his captors to let him go after two days.

Lampert's investment style can best be described as "concentrated value", often focusing on the retail sector. He has produced annual returns of 30% since forming his fund. Lampert typically holds his investments for several years and usually has between three and fifteen stocks. His investment style has drawn comparisons to the financier Warren Buffett. He has, in large part, been credited for forming and merging Kmart and Sears into Sears Holdings.

His earnings in 2004 were estimated to be $1.02 billion USD, making Lampert the first Wall Street financial manager to exceed an income of $1 billion in a single year. In 2006, Lampert was the richest person in Connecticut with a net worth of $3.8 billion. As of 2007, he retained that rank, with a net worth totaling $4.5 billion.

Achieve your full potential, even if people question you:
“Like Eli Manning, we know what it’s like to be underestimated and questioned, but we intend to keep working on our game to achieve our full potential,” - Eddie Lampert

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