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Fred’s is on the hunt for a new CEO

BY David Salazar

Less than two years on the job, Fred’s CEO has stepped down.

Mike Bloom officially resigned as CEO of Fred’s, effective April 24. The Memphis-based company said it has appointed CFO Joseph Anto to the position of interim CEO. Fred’s said Bloom’s departure, which included his resignation from the board of directors, was to pursue other opportunities and not due to a disagreement with the company or its operations.

Bloom’s resignation comes as it seeks to sell its specialty pharmacy business — a decision that has delayed the company’s full-year and fourth quarter results — originally set to take place April 19 — until May 4 for accounting purposes.

Mike Bloom“The board is appreciative for Mike’s contributions, dedication and service,” Fred’s chairman Heath Freeman said. “Mike joined Fred’s with significant experience with retail drugstores. After the company was not able to purchase certain assets from the Rite Aid Corporation and following the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the timing was right, both for Mike and the company, for him to step down. We wish him the very best.”

Anto has been CFO at Fred’s for roughly two months, joining the company in February following a roughly eight-month stint as a consultant for the company that began in July 2017. For three years, Anto was senior vice president of strategy and mergers and acquisitions at MediaNews Group. He had previously been MediaNews Group’s VP of business development and CEO at Jobs in the US.com, a MediaNews Group subsidiary. His previous experience also includes investment banking and venture capital.

“The Fred’s board is confident that Mr. Anto will serve the company well as interim CEO,” Freeman said.

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Albertsons has a new marketing leader

BY Michael Johnsen

Albertsons has made an executive promotion that to grow the company’s innovation efforts and brand expertise.

Sean Barrett has been named senior VP of advertising and marketing, effective April 30. He will work out of the Boise, Idaho corporate campus.

Barrett previously held the position of group VP innovation, product and brands on the company’s Own Brands team. In this role, he oversaw innovation efforts across Albertsons’ various private label brands.

“Sean’s depth of expertise in retail makes him the ideal leader to take on this new role,” Shane Sampson, chief marketing and merchandising officer, said. “In his prior role with our own brands team, Sean led the rebranding and integration of our popular brands like O Organics, Open Nature and Signature across the enterprise. Sean also helped to drive innovation in our product development, ensuring shoppers constantly have new and exciting products to find in our stores. I’m excited to have a leader of his caliber to run our advertising and marketing efforts.”

Before Barrett engineered product success through Albertsons’ own brands team, he worked as chief marketing officer of the Procter & Gamble/Whirlpool joint venture. Barrett also has prior experience working for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, and in the financial services industry for SEI Investments.

Barrett joined Albertsons Companies in April 2015 from P&G. Following the merger between Albertsons and Safeway, he helped integrate own brands into all Albertsons stores and has been at the forefront of the team’s innovation efforts.

Albertsons plans to introduce more than 450 new O Organics products and more than 240 new Open Nature products in 2018, with additional product releases planned across its portfolio of brands throughout the year.

Barrett’s new role is effective April 30 and he will operate out of the Boise, Idaho corporate campus. Barrett has a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Boston College and an MBA from London Business School.

Albertsons is currently in the process of planning the integration of Rite Aid with the recent expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in March. That milestone satisfied one of the conditions to the closing of the merger, which remains subject to other customary closing conditions, including the approval of Rite Aid’s stockholders.

With the Albertsons-Rite Aid merger, originally announced in February, the combined operation is poised to become the No. 4 retail pharmacy operator in terms of pharmacy sales.

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Dunkin’ Donuts taps former BJ’s exec for marketing role

BY Marianne Wilson

Dunkin’ Donuts has tapped a 20-year marketing veteran to head up its digital and loyalty marketing efforts.

The company announced the appointment of Stephanie Meltzer-Paul as VP, digital and loyalty marketing. She joins Dunkin’ Donuts after most recently serving as VP, member engagement and loyalty at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Previously, Meltzer-Paul was senior director of global loyalty marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She also served as director of marketing, loyalty & communications for American Express.

In her new role, Meltzer-Paul will lead the further development of Dunkin’s DD Perks loyalty platform, continue the expansion of its mobile ordering program, and further strengthen the brand’s strategic partnerships.

“Stephanie is a talented business leader who has excelled at delivering exponential customer growth, retention and revenue generation through best-in-class marketing strategies, and we are thrilled to have her head up our digital and loyalty marketing efforts,” said Tony Weisman, chief marketing officer, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. “This is a very exciting time in the evolution of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand, and we believe Stephanie is exactly the right person to help us further engage with our customers, including building on the strength of our DD Perks program, one of the fastest growing loyalty programs in the quick-service restaurant industry.”

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