HEADHUNTER THOMAS NEFF says he didn't expect Floyd Hall, who had turned down past overtures, to be interested in the job. He phoned the former Target Stores and Grand Union executive on Apr. 24 to toss around the names of retailing executives who might be right to head Kmart, his client. At conversation's end, Neff asked casually: "What about you?" To his surprise, Hall said he'd think about it. A month later, on June 5, Kmart announced that Hall had accepted the post of chairman, CEO, and president, succeeding deposed chief Joseph Antonini. Wall Street's initial reaction: Floyd Who? Its next reaction: We like Floyd. Investors sent the troubled retailer's stock up 18% over the next two days.

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