Kmart replaces chairman with board member

January 18, 1995|By New York Times News Service

The Kmart Corp. yesterday stripped its chairman, Joseph E. Antonini, of that title and gave it to one of the more outspoken board members, Donald S. Perkins.

At a news conference at the company's headquarters in Troy, Mich., Mr. Perkins said that while he would spend about one-third of his time on Kmart business, Mr. Antonini, who continues as the president and chief executive, would keep running Kmart's operations. Still, many analysts speculated that the events foreshadowed Mr. Antonini's eventual end at Kmart.

Indeed, the company yesterday listed "leadership" as one of the issues it intended to examine as part of a "strategic review" of its business. Analysts expect the review will lead to a change in management and further restructuring at the company.

Michael Zucker, director of corporate and financial affairs at the American Clothing and Textile Workers Union, described the board move as "a significant vote of no confidence" in Mr. Antonini.

The union and other shareholders, whose revolt against the company last summer forced it to enact some changes, applauded yesterday's moves, if with some restraint.

"If the developments today signal that the board is going to be more involved, then that's positive," said Jim Severance, who manages the State of Wisconsin Investment Board's stake in Kmart.

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