SEATTLE -- Robert E. Hoyt was hired by Associated Grocers here as interim president and chief executive officer to get the retailer-owned cooperative back on its feet after several years of declining financial performance.
lained. "When it's a sunny day and the sails are full out, it's an easy job to sail the boat. But in a storm, unforeseen circumstances can develop at any moment, and you need someone in charge who can make quick decisions to navigate through it all."
Hoyt is managing partner of Partners for Corporate Renewal, a Philadelphia-based revitalization company that is hired "when a company has gotten away from its game plan and needs to be refocused, reenergized and revitalized. What I do is provide functional expertise that's critical in a situation like this."
Prior to joining AG, Hoyt had experience with several other food companies.
In the mid-1990's, while working as national director for Coopers & Lybrand, New York, Hoyt said, he represented some of the senior lenders of Victory Markets, Utica, N.Y., a leveraged company that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"To salvage the stores, we had to remove the costs of corporate management, so we eliminated management altogether and spun the stores off to a variety of independent operators as part of an ad group supplied by C&S (Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt.)," Hoyt recalled. "In the process, I got to know how independent operators think and what their concerns are, and that gave me some good perspective on the food business."
In the late 1980's, also while he was with Coopers, he did consulting work for Genuardi's Family Markets, Norristown, Pa., "to help the company think through its financial alternatives as it sought to progress from a family-run business to a more professional enterprise with broader growth strategies."
In the early 1980's, Hoyt said, he worked for IU International, Philadelphia, a holding company for a variety of businesses that included Biggers Bros., a onetime food wholesaler in the Charlotte, N.C., area. "We helped them with financial planning," he recalled.
"In talking with the owner, Howard Biggers, he told me there were two essential things to understand about the food business -- gross margins and inventory turnover. 'Earn and turn, that's the name of the game,' he said, and he was right."