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Hello, I Must Be Going


Up Front: REVOLVING DOOR

HELLO, I MUST BE GOING

LIFE AT RETAILER MONTGOMery Ward isn't any better the second time around. Just ask Ward's former president, Bernard W. Andrews, who on Apr. 18 quietly cleaned out his desk.

It was the second time Andrews quit. Both times, former execs say, Andrews left because of excessive meddling by Ward's fiery chairman, Bernard F. Brennan. After his first exit in 1990, Andrews joined electronics retailer Circuit City Stores. But after a steady stream of high-level defections, Brennan wooed Andrews back 16 months ago to fix the Chicago-based retailer's faltering apparel business, pledging that he wouldn't interfere again. "It's the same old thing," says a former Ward's exec. "Brennan promises them they'll be able to do their own thing, and then he doesn't let them." Andrews couldn't be reached for comment, and Ward's will say only that Andrews "left for personal reasons."

Andrews is the third No.2 exec to leave since 1993. His departure comes as Ward's is in the midst of a hard-fought recovery. Its 1994 revenues rose 17%, to $7 billion, while earnings rose 14%, to $117 million. Little is known about Ward's management turmoil, because the company offers lucrative exit packages that are honored only if ex-execs stay mum for a long time. Susan Chandler EDITED BY LINDA HIMELSTEIN, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI


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