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Drug chain names new finance chief

BY David Salazar

Fred's named Jason Jenne as executive VP and CFO. He will replace outgoing CFO Rick Hans, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Hans will stay onboard as an advisor until August 18, to ensure a smooth transition.

Jenne, a certified public accountant with more than 25 years’ experience in finance and operations, joined Fred’s in September 2016 as senior VP finance. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of golf shaft manufacturer True Temper Sports. During his 18-year tenure at True Temper Sports, he held such titles as CFO and COO.

During his time at Fred’s, Jenne has been an integral part of the company’s new healthcare strategy implementation and other efforts.

“Jason is an integral member of our leadership team and over the past year he and I have worked closely together as we navigated the proposed Rite Aid transaction, implemented a new healthcare strategy and pursued additional growth opportunities for Fred’s Pharmacy," Fred’s CEO Mike Bloom said. "As we execute our plan, Jason’s strategic insight and financial expertise will be invaluable in our ongoing efforts to improve performance and create shareholder value.”

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Dunkin’ Brands exec joins rapidly expanding restaurant chain

BY By Marianne Wilson

An industry veteran has been tapped to lead operations at of the nation's fastest-growing fast-casual restaurant companies.

Mod Super Fast Pizza Holdings has appointed Paul Twohig to the new role of COO, effective immediately. The appointment comes as the company continues its rapid expansion in the United States and abroad. With Twohig’s arrival, Chris Schultz, former senior VP of operations, will take on the new role of senior VP, international to lead Mod’s development abroad.

Twohig has served on Mod’s advisory board since 2008. Most recently, from 2009 to 2017, he served as president of Dunkin’ Donuts, where he led U.S. and Canadian operations, franchising and store development for more than 8,500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations.

Prior to Dunkin', Twohig was COO and executive VP of Panera Bread, and spent a total of 14 years at Starbucks in two separate stints.

Mod was founded in Seattle in 2008 by Scott and Ally Svenson, whose previous ventures include Seattle Coffee Company, which they sold to Starbucks in 1998. Mod, a recipient of Chain Store Age's Breakout Retailers Awards in 2017, currently has more than 235 locations in 23 states and the UK, with plans for continued rapid expansion.

"Not only will Paul (Twohig) bring world-class experience and expertise to the team as we continue our journey of building the leading fast casual pizza brand in the world, but he will also be a fantastic champion for our culture and mission of using the business as a platform to make a positive social impact,” said Svenson, co-founder and CEO of Mod. “Ally and I could not be happier to welcome Paul onto the MOD team.”

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Update on True Value: Reports and rumors

BY Ken Clark

Since reports began to swirl around a possible sale of True Value Company — or at least the consideration of such a move – the Chicago-based co-op’s CEO has downplayed the story as “rumor.”

But that hasn’t stopped rival co-ops from weighing in with their own statements.

Cross-town rival Ace Hardware Corp. says it would be interested in bidding on True Value, if it were possible. And Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Do it Best Corp. says it is “considering the opportunities potentially available with our competitor,” as it pointed to its own past success in merging with Our Own Hardware in 1998.

The possibility of a sale of True Value, along with a possible sale price of $800 million, first appeared in a Bloomberg News report last week.

John Hartmann, True Value’s president and CEO, downplayed the reports of a sale in a statement that was shared on a popular Google Group comment board.

“The bottom line is this: you and your fellow stockholders own the company and nothing could be done without your say,” he wrote.

Hartmann also described the True Value co-op as committed to its strategic plan, which the co-op has been busy shaping and executing since his arrival at the company in 2013. “As part of that [plan] we are continuously assessing and evaluating many opportunities in an effort to create maximum value for all of our retailers,” he said.

Speculation that Ace might acquire its cross-town rival appeared in the Chicago Tribune. However, that speculation appears to rest on flimsy ground. Ace CEO John Venhuizen, in an online statement to Ace retailers, said it was his understanding that “Ace was specifically precluded from making a bid to purchase True Value, which is unfortunate as we would have been interested in the opportunity.”

Do it Best Corp. President and CEO Dan Starr also weighed in on the potential sale of True Value. “We are certainly considering the opportunities potentially available with our competitor,” he wrote in a July 14 statement. One of those opportunities, according to Starr, would be to take on new members.

[Read Starr’s full statement here.]

At last count, True Value stores numbered 4,392. The co-op operates 13 regional distribution centers and has 2,500 corporate employees.

Other speculation in national media has suggested private equity players, big box retailers and Amazon.com as potential possible buyers. These possibilities have yet to rise above the status of rumor.

With so many independent businesses involved, it’s likely that rumors will continue to cloud the retail landscape. As True Value’s Hartmann explained in the post that appeared online: “Rumors have been swirling around True Value for longer than I have been here.”

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