In March, the 41-year-old got a call, out of the blue, from a Kmart director. The board member had been asking around at New York firms for recommendations for Kmart’s GC post, and Lueken’s name had come up. The two met over breakfast the following week. And ten days later, Lueken was in Troy, meeting Kmart’s new CEO, Julian Day, and other executives. They all got on well, and by early May the company, which had just emerged from bankruptcy, had a new senior vice president and general counsel.

Clicking with the people on the Kmart management team was a big draw for Lueken. “Life is too short not to like the people you work with,” he says. Lueken also admits that “the opportunity to help rebuild one of the greatest companies” was irresistible.

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