If I had a hammer…

October 13, 2006

depot.jpegYesterday, Home Depot (HD) announced a series of management changes and while the nuts and bolts (pardon the pun) news was well covered, what seemed to be missing was some perspective. Like the fact that just last August, Home Depot announced another series of management changes that promoted two of the people — Tom Taylor and Carl Liebert — whose departure was announced yesterday. At the time, Taylor, a long-time Home Depot employee who is expected to leave the company by the end of the year, was being promoted to replace former Yahoo (YHOO) executive John Costello. Costello, who we footnoted last December, got a very generous exit package of two years of salary plus full vesting of lots of options, despite spending a relatively short time in the top merchandising role.

It’s unclear from yesterday’s announcement how much Taylor, who has spent over 20 years at the company despite his short tenure as top merchandiser, will receive, though Home Depot is famous for letting those details drip out like a leaky faucet. Ditto for Carl Liebert and Bill Lennie, another merchandising executive who was also part of yesterday’s announcement, although by the end of yesterday, the privately-held 24 Hour Fitness had announced that Liebert was joining the company as CEO.

What is clear is that Home Depot, which has come under a fair amount of criticism during the reign of Bob Nardelli, including here on footnoted.org, seems to be changing top managers the way some people change the paint on their walls.

Now given that there’s a Home Depot store about five minutes away from Footnoted.org’s world headquarters, I spend a fair amount of time there — was just at my local store on Wednesday, in fact. If you hit the store mid-day, mid-week when it isn’t very busy, the guys on the floor have time to talk. And many of the suggestions they’ve made to me over the years about making Home Depot a better place to shop seem pretty reasonable to this shopper’s ears. Too bad Nardelli seems much more focused on re-arranging the furniture down in Atlanta.

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