CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The CEO of Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s is stepping down.
In a statement Monday morning, the home improvement retailer said Robert Niblock has decided to retire after 25 years at the company. The company’s board of director has begun a search for Niblock’s replacement, and in the interim, Niblock will remain in his position as chairman, president and CEO.
News of Niblock’s departure sent Lowe’s shares up 6.14 percent in early trading to $88.91.
“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. Serving Lowe’s alongside our over 310,000 outstanding employees has been my great privilege and the highlight of my professional career,” Niblock said in the statement.
Lowe’s has been working to cut costs and boost earnings at a time when home improvement retailers are benefiting from a strong housing market. The performance at Lowe’s has trailed Atlanta-based rival Home Depot.
Earlier this year, Lowe’s reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell below expectations, despite a rise in same-store sales, an industry term key to gauging a retailer’s health. “We are moving forward with urgency to improve our results,” Niblock said in a call with analysts at the time.
A Lowe’s shareholder for years, the hedge fund D.E. Shaw began building up an activist stake in the company last fall, and now has an approximately $1 billion stake in the company. The firm has been pushing for changes at Lowe’s and in January, the company announced three new board members.
A source familiar with the matter has told the Observer that layoffs are not anticipated as part of any changes. The person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, didn’t rule out changes in the management at Lowe’s, however.