The Baltimore Sun

EDWARD BRENNAN, 73 CEO of Sears, Roebuck

Edward Brennan, who started as a sales associate at a Sears store in Wisconsin and rose to become chairman and CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the mid-1980s, died Thursday night at his home in Burr Ridge, Ill., after a brief illness, the Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site.

The Chicago native served on a variety of boards, including McDonald's Corp., 3M Corp. and Exelon Corp. He also previously served as chairman of the board of trustees at DePaul University and Marquette University, his alma mater.

Mr. Brennan graduated from Marquette in 1956 and began working in sales that year at a Sears store in Madison, Wis., according to a biography provided by Sears.

He was the third generation of his family to work for the company, according to the biography. His grandfather worked with founder Richard Sears and his father, four uncles and a brother all worked as Sears buyers.

In January 1981 he was elected chairman and chief executive officer of the company's retail group and helped handle the acquisition of Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. and Coldwell, Banker & Co. From 1984 to 1986 Brennan was corporate president and chief operating officer.

In 1986 he became chairman of the board and chief executive officer. The company that year launched its Discover Card, claiming 12 million holders by year's end.

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