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Michaels searches for new CEO

The nation’s leading arts and crafts retailer is looking for a new top executive after John Menzer resigned to focus on recovery from a stroke.

After Menzer suffered a stroke in April, Michaels created an office of the CEO comprised of Lew Klessel, interim COO and a managing director of Bain Capital, and Chuck Sonsteby, Michael’s chief administrative officer and CFO. The pair will continue to lead the company until Menzer’s successor is hired.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with John and his family during his ongoing recovery, said Matt Levin, managing director with Bain Capital Partners, the private equity firm who along with The Blackstone Group, owns 93% of Michael’s outstanding shares. “We will greatly miss his leadership, passion and enthusiasm, but the imprint he has left on the company will endure in its people and their commitment to excellence. John's contributions to Michaels cannot be overstated and he will always remain part of the Michaels family.”

Peter Wallace, senior managing director with Blackstone, added, “One of John's many legacies is the strength of the team he built throughout the organization. We are fortunate to have such a capable group to carry forward under Lew and Chuck's leadership while we complete the process of selecting a new CEO for the company.”

Menzer served as CEO of Michaels for the past three years and prior to that he held a variety of senior leadership roles at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., including CFO and CEO of the company’s international division.

Michaels operates 1,074 stores in 49 states and Canada and 127 Aaron Brothers stores. It is the largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator.
 

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