A and P names second CEO in six months

Posted by Josette Dunn on 26th July 2010

US grocery retailer A&P on Friday (23 July) named its second chief executive in six months after appointing former OfficeMax executive Sam Martin to replace Ron Marshall.Martin succeeds Marshall, who was only appointed in January, as president and CEO of A&P, which saw losses balloon its most recent fiscal year ending 27 February.

A&P, which also posted an adjusted net loss of $51m for the first quarter of its current fiscal year, said Martin had “an ideal mix” of experience to lead the company’s plans to turn around the business.

Executive chairman Christian Haub said: “The board and the company’s major shareholders, Tengelmann and Yucaipa, have been instrumental in developing what I believe is the right turnaround strategy for A&P. As we moved to the implementation and execution stage of this comprehensive operational and revenue-driven turnaround, the Board determined that the company needed a leader at the helm with the skill set Sam Martin possesses.”

Haub added: “Sam is a proven, hands on operational expert in the food retail industry. He has an ideal mix of food industry management experience encompassing operations, merchandising and supply chain. We are confident that he will successfully drive the rapid implementation of our multi-faceted effort to make A&P a stronger and more efficient company.”

On Marshall’s departure, the A&P chairman, a member of the family that runs German retailer Tengelmann, the US retailer’s majority shareholder, said: “We thank Ron Marshall for his service and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

The announcement of Marshall’s exit from A&P after only months in the job raised eyebrows throughout the industry.

When Marshall, a former boss of bookseller Borders Group, was appointed in January, Haub described him as “the key leader in our turnaround”.

However, A&P now sees Martin, a former COO at US organic retailer Wild Oats Markets, as the man to take forward its “operational and revenue-driven turnaround initiative”.

The plan includes improving A&P’s “customer value proposition through merchandising”, driving a “clear brand identity”, lowering costs and boosting the liquidity of the business.

Martin said: “I firmly believe that this turnaround will strengthen A&P’s operating foundation and improve our performance. I have faced similar situations in my career and have successfully navigated through them. We will move quickly to implement this turnaround for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

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