PARSIPPANY, N.J. -- Marks & Spencer, London-based parent company of Kings Super Markets here, said Alan Levitan has left his positions as president and chief executive officer as part of a "mutually agreed decision."
The company said his departure "will enable both Alan and Kings to move on to new opportunities."
Dan Portnoy, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing, will manage day-to-day operations for the 27-store chain while Marks & Spencer seeks a permanent successor, the company said. Levitan could not be reached for comment last week. He was named president and CEO in mid-1998 and spent a total of 10 years at Kings.
According to Stan Neve, a New York-based spokesman for Marks & Spencer, Levitan's departure followed a decision by the parent company "that it was best for the business to take on a new guiding force."
Neve said the company hopes to find a permanent successor to Levitan as soon as possible, adding that Portnoy has not been ruled out as a candidate.
He also told SN the new CEO is unlikely to be recruited from overseas. "Marks & Spencer is looking for someone who knows the marketplace and has a track record as a retailer in the U.S.," he said.
Marks & Spencer acquired Kings in 1988 but was unsuccessful over the past four years in its efforts to sell the chain. When Gristede's Foods, New York, was unable to raise sufficient funds to acquire the company last month, Marks & Spencer said it would hold onto Kings and invest capital in existing stores and in new-store growth.