WAYNE, N.J. -- Grand Union Co. here said last week that Joseph J. McCaig, president and chief executive officer since 1989, resigned from his positions because of differences with the board of directors on how to achieve the company's goals.
The company immediately named Roger Stangeland, Grand Union chairman, to the post of interim chief executive officer and set up a four-member office of the chairman to temporarily run the company.
That group includes Stangeland; Daniel E. Josephs, a director and former president and chief operating officer of Dominick's Finer Foods, Northlake, Ill.; Jeffrey P. Friemark, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer; and Gilbert C. Vuolo, senior vice president of human resources and labor relations.
Stangeland said the company has launched an intensive search for a new president and CEO.
Company spokesman Don Vaillancourt declined to comment on what differences McCaig, a 37-year Grand Union veteran, had with the board. He told SN a new CEO would be chosen "quickly, certainly by early summer." He stressed there are no changes in company strategic direction or in its relationship with its investors.
McCaig is one in a series of top executives to recently leave the company. Kenneth Baum resigned as chief financial officer last December. In March, William Louttit resigned as chief operating officer and Darrell Stine resigned as executive vice president of operations.
McCaig has been acting as chief operating officer temporarily pending a new person in that role. Vaillancourt said the search for a chief operating officer would be delayed until a new CEO is found.
Bob Lupo, a financial analyst with Bank America Securities, Chicago, said Grand Union has seen impressive top-line results on newly completed units but noted that incremental earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are negligable as of now.
Ken Bann, a financial analyst with Lehman Bros., New York, said he believed McCaig's departure will not represent a major problem for the company.
"I don't have a lot of concern about it," he said. "Stangeland and other members of the board have wide contacts in the industry and I think they will find a qualified candidate quickly."
Bann said he did not know the nature of McCaig's differences with the board. But he added that given the string of other recent departures from the company, McCaig's resignation isn't a complete surprise to him.
One source said McCaig's departure was driven by investor dissatisfaction with the results of the M.A.S.T.E.R.S program's return on investment to date. The program is partly intended to boost the number of products in the stores. Vaillancourt said the notion of investor dissatisfaction is "totally false" because investors are committed to the program. Grand Union's major investor is the Shamrock Group.