Two supermarket companies went outside the box during 2001 in search of new top executives to extricate them from tenuous financial positions.
One was Albertson's, the Boise, Idaho-based giant that found its new chairman and chief executive officer in the appliances business when it hired Lawrence R. Johnston to succeed Gary Michael in April.
Michael, a 35-year veteran of Albertson's who had served for 10 years as CEO, said late in 2000 he would retire, and he did so -- very quietly -- when Johnston was hired in April. Johnston, who spent 28 years with General Electric Co., was brought in to help Albertson's eliminate declining sales and control escalating costs that resulted from its 1998 acquisition of American Stores Co.
The other company that went outside the industry for help was Wild Oats Markets, Boulder, Colo, which saw sales flatten and earnings decline following a series of rapid acquisitions that resulted in integration challenges. Wild Oats hired Perry Odak -- former president and CEO of Ben & Jerry's Homemade, South Burlington, Vt. -- as president and CEO, succeeding Mike Gilliland, one of the company's founders, who remained on the company's board of directors.
Odak effected other personnel changes at the company's top level, bringing in two Ben & Jerry's executives: Bruce Bowman as chief operating officer, succeeding Jim Lee, who left the company, and Frances Rathke as interim chief financial officer after Mary Beth Lewis resigned.
Kmart Corp., Troy, Mich., went outside the discount industry when it named Mark S. Schwartz president and COO, succeeding Andy Giancamilli, who resigned. Schwartz was president and CEO of Big V Supermarkets, Florida, N.Y., for 17 months before joining Kmart in September 2000 as executive vice president, store operations.
In another major executive change, Supervalu, Minneapolis, named Jeff Noddle CEO -- as expected -- succeeding Mike Wright, who retired. Noddle already held the titles of president and COO.
In other top-level changes:
Charles H. Jenkins Jr., COO for Publix Supermarkets, Lakeland, Fla., was named CEO, succeeding Howard M. Jenkins, who remains chairman. Charles Jenkins will continue as chairman of the executive committee.
Christian Haub, president and CEO of A&P, Montvale, N.J., added the title of chairman, succeeding James Wood, who retired after 21 years with the company.
Steven C. Smith, president of K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va., added the title of CEO, succeeding Jack Smith, his father, who remains chairman.
Don Baker, executive vice president of Stater Bros. Markets, Colton, Calif., added the title of COO.
Steve Hastings was named vice president and COO of Big V Supermarkets, Florida, N.Y.
Jeff Wood was named COO for Larry's Markets, Seattle.
Several companies appointed new chief financial officers. New CFO's included:
Felicia D. Thornton, executive vice president and CFO, Albertson's.
Rick Picariello, executive vice president and CFO, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., a division of Ahold USA.
Steve McMillan, senior vice president and CFO, Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif., a division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati.
Robert P. Hermanns, vice president and CFO, Weis Markets, Sunbury, Pa.
Richard N. Phegley, CFO, Smart & Final Co., Los Angeles, succeeding Martin Lynch, who retired after 12 years with the company.
Jeffrey N. Boyer, executive vice president and CFO, Kmart Corp., succeeding Martin E. Welch, who retired.
Andrew Parkinson, CFO, Peapod, Chicago, a division of Ahold USA.
Glenn Hynes, executive vice president and CFO, Sobeys, Stellarton, Nova Scotia, succeeding Allan Rowe, who left the company.
Kroger shook up its division management last spring, naming Sam K. Duncan as president of Fred Meyer Stores, Portland, Ore., succeeding Ken Thrasher, who retired; John Burgon as president of Ralphs, succeeding Duncan; Russ Dispense as president of King Soopers, Denver, succeeding Burgon, and James W. Hallsey as president of Smith's Food & Drug Centers, succeeding Dispense.
Kroger also named Phyllis Norris as president of City Markets, Grand Junction, Colo., succeeding Tony Prinster, who retired. Norris became the first person to head City Markets who was not a member of the Prinster family.
At Delhaize America, Rick Anicetti was named president of Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C., succeeding Bill McCanless, who continues as CEO; and Ron Hodge, president of Hannaford Bros. Markets, Scarborough, Maine, added the title of CEO, succeeding Hugh Farrington, who continues as vice chairman of Delhaize America.
In division-level changes among other companies:
John W. Sullivan was named president of A&P's Mid-Atlantic division.
Hank Mullany was named president of Genuardi's Family Markets, Norristown, Pa., a division of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.
Gregory Sparks was named president of Safeway's Seattle division, succeeding Robert A. Diens, who retired after 33 years with the company.
Jim Garrison was named president of Piggly Wiggly Co., Memphis.
Tom Dahlen was named executive vice president and president, retail and corporate marketing, for Fleming, Dallas. Dahlen left his position as chairman, president and CEO of Furrs Supermarkets, Albuquerque, N.M., to take the Fleming job less than two months after Furrs filed for Chapter 11 protection.
Michael C. Petersen was named executive vice president and president of retail operations for Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis, succeeding Art Keeney, who left the company.
Reuben Harris, a member of the advisory board for C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt., was named the company's vice chairman.