SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here surprised the industry last week when it announced that Tom E. Smith, who has played a major role in running the company since 1981, would retire, effectively immediately. Indeed, by the time Food Lion made the announcement, Smith "had already left the building," one securities analyst told SN. Smith, 57, held the titles of chairman, president and chief executive officer. In relinquishing those titles last week, he ended a 29-year career with Food Lion ...

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