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Edward Brennan; was chairman of Sears

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January 7, 2008

CHICAGO - Edward A. Brennan, who became chairman and chief executive of Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the 1980s, when it was a financial and retail conglomerate, and then presided over its downsizing, died Dec. 27 at his home in Burr Ridge, Ill. He was 73.

Mr. Brennan became chief executive at Sears in 1986, when the company was at its peak as the nation's largest retailer and as the parent of such financial companies as Allstate insurance, Dean Witter Financial Services Group, and Coldwell Banker & Co., the real estate firm.

When he retired in 1995, Sears had lost much of its dominance to Wal-Mart, then an upstart retailer known for low prices. It had also lost ownership of its namesake skyscraper in Chicago, the Sears Tower.

Edward A. Brennan was born Jan. 16, 1934, in Chicago. He began working as a Sears salesman in Madison, Wis., in 1956 after graduating from Marquette University. Mr. Brennan's grandfather, father, and several uncles had worked at Sears.

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