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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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