Sharper Image Founder Richard Thalheimer Leaves Firm

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Sharper Image founder Richard Thalheimer is gone, and former Revlon chairman Jerry W. Levin has assumed the positions of chairman and interim CEO, the troubled specialty retailer reported Sept. 27.

The San Francisco-based company has seen sales decline steadily in the past two years due to bad publicity for its Ionic Breeze line and a lackluster merchandise assortment. For the six months ended July 31, Sharper Image's revenue fell 24 percent to $214 million. Sharper Image also recently said that it would restate financial statements for the past three fiscal years as a result of a review of its stock option practices.

Mr. Thalheimer founded the company in the 1970s. His first breakthrough item was a runner's watch. He stayed active in the company, serving as chairman/CEO as well as being featured in advertising for the company.

Mr. Levin was part of an investor group that called for change at the retailer and gained a spot on Sharper Image's board in July, according to press reports. He has a reputation as a seasoned CEO with turnaround experience. He serves as chairman/CEO of JW Levin Partners LLC, which specializes in rebuilding branded consumer product and service companies. Previously, he served as chairman/CEO of American Household Inc., formerly Sunbeam. Prior to that, he served as CEO of Revlon Inc. and The Coleman Company Inc.

Sharper Image's board has engaged JW Levin Partners for one year to address operating issues. The board immediately begins an executive search to find a permanent CEO.

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