Southeastern Grocers (SEG), parent company of the Harveys, Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo banners, is laying off some of its executives as it makes new leadership appointments to its store operations and merchandise teams.
“As we are all aware, the supermarket business continues to intensify as our competition grows and we work hard not only to defend our current position, but seek to revive our business, address the mistakes of the past, while investing more in our stores, in our products and in our people as we strive to deliver positive change in the quality, value and service we provide for our customers,” SEG President and CEO Ian McLeod said in an internal memo this week.
Bill Nasshan, who currently serves SEG as the company’s chief merchandising officer, will oversee the Harveys banner, with stores in South Georgia and North Florida. As the company’s managing director, Nasshan also will manage SEG’s South Florida region. Nasshan will report to McLeod.
“Harveys has undergone considerable change in the past year since the stores became part of the Southeastern Grocers group,” McLeod said. “While many of the changes have been positive, there have been other changes that have not been as successful as we might otherwise have wished. One of the main reasons for this is due to Harveys not being given the opportunity to truly maintain its own identity and that which its customers had grown to expect. In order to ensure that the Harveys brand is given the time and attention it deserves, I believe it requires new leadership to pull together the stores, the assortment and the pricing to deliver more effectively for the Harveys customer.”
McLeod added, “Similarly, Miami is a multifaceted region of our geography with a diverse customer base by demography and ethnicity. This diversity and complexity requires strategic focus to ensure our stores appeal to all of our customers in South Florida.”
McLeod stressed the “importance of these two markets to our company, and the size of the opportunity.”
“South Florida has been regarded as Miami,” he said. “However, it is quite clear that it is far more complex as a region to believe that a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ will appeal to our diverse range of customers there. It will require a more considered approach to assortment and pricing to ensure appeal to all customers; from traditional American backgrounds, the various Hispanic communities, those more affluent living north of Miami or visiting the Keys and also our strong Jewish population.
“Bill brings a wealth of experience in both merchandise and stores, and he is particularly familiar with the South Florida market. For all of these reasons and more, I believe Bill is ideally suited to maximize our opportunities. …Given his extensive experience in both merchandise and stores, he is ideally suited to lead our rejuvenation in each of these markets.”
McLeod noted that “no decision has been made on a chief merchandising officer replacement for Bill.” In the interim, Mike Bove, group VP of fresh merchandise, and Dewayne Rabon, group VP of center store, will report to McLeod. Rabon also will pick up responsibility for pharmacy, private label development and supplier diversity. John Fegan, Jason Ulichnie and Derek Lott will now report to Rabon. Reid Boylston, director of rural merchandising, will report to Bove in the interim.
Other merchandise team appointments and/or changes include:
• Ken Wicker, regional VP of operations for Harveys, and Michael Purvis, director of merchandising for Harveys, will both report to Nasshan, as will each of the district directors for the South Florida division.
• Steve Strachota will lead end-to-end supply chain. Strachota recently was appointed SVP of supply chain and is, therefore, responsible for demand planning and forecasting, vendor service and quality levels into store, the efficient delivery of product from vendor to store, and also the key liaison with SEG’s third-party service partner, C&S Wholesale Grocers. In order to complete the end-to-end supply chain, Strachota now takes overall responsibility for planogram development and implementation, data integrity and the reappraisal of the effectiveness of CGO. As a result, Rob Mould, group VP of merchandise services, will report to Strachota.
Additionally, McLeod said changes to SEG’s operations team are being made to “better align with our customers’ needs on a state-by-state basis and bring some fresh ideas and broader retail experience into Southeastern Grocers at the same time.”
Mark Scates has been named SVP of store operations.
“Mark’s strong operations background and successful track record make him ideally placed in the interim to take up the role of heading our store divisions in Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie,” McLeod said. “Mark has a wealth of retail experience having spent over 25 years in store operations in Australia working for retail brands in general merchandise, liquor stores and supermarkets.”
• Shawn Sloan, regional VP of North Florida
“Shawn is a career veteran with Winn-Dixie, with a high level of experience gleaned from many years in store operations both in the field and in Central operations,” McLeod said. “Shawn will bring a solid backbone of operations understanding across Florida’s Panhandle.”
As a result of Sloan’s interim move to lead North Florida operations, Tony Williams will pick up the lead role for Central operations.
• Eddie Garcia, regional VP of Central Florida, and Joey Medina, regional VP of West Florida
“Both Eddie and Joey will continue to lead some of our stronger performing regions across the central belt of Florida,” McLeod said. “Each has significant retail experience, with Joey fulfilling several roles for Winn-Dixie over the years in a number of locations and Eddie was previously the head of store operations for the Sweetbay stores. I am confident they will continue to lead their teams well.”
• Drew Elkins, regional VP of Alabama and Mississippi
“Drew has spent all his working career with Winn-Dixie, as indeed his father before him,” McLeod said. “He, therefore, has a strong understanding on what makes Winn-Dixie tick. Drew will hand over his stores in northern Florida to Shawn and pick up the remaining stores in southern Alabama as well as our stores in Mississippi.”
• Tracey Edwards, regional VP of Louisiana
“After graduating, Tracey chose to join the Navy. Post military service, his career has been in retail where more recently he ran a region of Target stores and Super Targets prior to leading a division of JCPenney,” McLeod said. “A proven leader within and outside retail, Tracey is well placed to bring both his experience and a fresh pair of eyes to Winn-Dixie in Louisiana.”
Edwards will take up his position in September and, in the interim, District Director Mohamed Abul-Hawa will lead the Louisiana stores team.
With the sale of its Bi-Lo stores in Chattanooga to Food City, SEG says Bi-Lo will become two divisions—Bi-Lo East and Bi-Lo West.
• Fred Shropshier will lead Bi-Lo West.
“Fred is veteran of many years with the Bi-Lo organization and has spent the last decade as an RVP,” McLeod said. “I am confident Fred will continue to serve the organization well in his current role.”
• Gordon Schmidt will lead Bi-Lo East.
“Gordon spent most of his career with Target where most recently he was group vice president for 95 stores across seven states, before joining The Pantry Inc., where he was SVP operations, leading operations in over 1,500 convenience stores and 225 quick-service restaurants,” McLeod said. “Gordon brings with him both retail turnaround experience and proven leadership skills.”
Schmidt also starts in September and, in the interim, District Director Calvin Rash will lead the Bi-Lo East operating team.
Unless otherwise noted, the appointments become effective Monday, Aug. 17.
With the changes, a number of SEG’s current executives will leave the company, including Winn-Dixie’s Tim Flavin, Tony Jorges, Karena Niblett and Randy Rambo, as well as Bi-Lo’s Allen Reavis.
“Such significant leadership changes are never easy,” McLeod said, “but I firmly believe that the changes…will provide us with renewed energy and leadership direction to enable us to face our turnaround challenges with increased enthusiasm and confidence.”