Food Lion president out; Hannaford executive to take reins

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2012

SALISBURY — Cathy Green Burns is out as president of Food Lion.
Roland Smith, new CEO of Food Lion parent company Delhaize America, announced Thursday night that Beth Newlands Campbell will replace Burns as president of the grocery chain that started as a one-store operation in Salisbury in 1957 and now has 1,127 stores in 10 states.
The change is effective today.
Campbell has served as president of Hannaford Supermarkets, a sister grocery chain also owned by Delhaize. The shake-up comes among other top-level changes at Delhaize America.
Food Lion would not say why Green Burns was replaced.
Delhaize America has struggled with its bottom line and saw its 2011 profits drop. The stock is down 34 percent for the year, closing Thursday at $37.17. Delhaize was trading above $58 a share last year at this time.
Food Lion makes up the lion’s share of Delhaize.
Smith, who took the Delhaize helm in October, works in Salisbury, where Food Lion is headquartered. His predecessor’s office was in Maine.
Just in July, Green Burns launched Food Lion’s new business strategy in Rowan County stores.
Bringing the new strategy to Salisbury was emotional, she said during a visit to the Faith Road store.
“I can’t tell you the pride and responsibility we feel,” Green Burns said.
Green Burns called that launch “a pivotal turning point for our company.”
She had banked on the new strategy, which she said was based on extensive consumer research and feedback from Food Lion customers.
“It’s the flywheel for improving our business over time,” she said. “It positions the company for future success.”
Green Burns, who started as a bagger at a Hannaford store while in high school, worked her way up through the industry. She became vice president of fresh merchandising for Hannaford before joining Food Lion in 2002.
She was named president of Food Lion in February 2010.
In that role, she also oversaw Bloom, Harveys and Reid’s supermarkets. She replaced Rick Anicetti, who was promoted to a senior vice president’s slot at Delhaize before losing his job several months later.
Delhaize has shut down the Bloom banner.
At the time of Green Burns’ promotion, Ron Hodge, then CEO of Delhaize America, called her “an outstanding leader” with an “in-depth knowledge of the grocery industry.” 
In Green Burns’ first few months on the job, the company raised her profile by featuring her in Food Lion television ads.
Before her promotion, Green Burns had served as chief operating officer of Food Lion, overseeing retail operations, merchandising, marketing and distribution network.
She was named a 2007 Top Woman in Grocery by Progressive Grocer, one of Supermarket News’ Power 50 in 2009 and one of Mass Market Retailer’s Most Influential Women in Mass Market Retailing in January of this year.
Delhaize America on Thursday announced the following changes to its leadership structure:
• Newlands Campbell, new president of Food Lion and Harveys.
• Mike Vail, formerly president of Sweetbay Supermarkets, new chief supply chain officer for Delhaize America.
• Brad Wise, formerly senior vice president of human resources for Delhaize America, new president of Hannaford and Sweetbay.
• Greg Amoroso, formerly senior vice president for Business Service Center and Sustainability, new chief financial officer of Delhaize America.
• Meg Ham will continue as president of Bottom Dollar Food.
• Linn Evans will continue as senior vice president of legal and government Affairs for Delhaize America.
• Deborah Dixson will continue as chief information officer for Delhaize America.
Under Smith’s leadership, “the restructuring was conducted to provide greater clarity of responsibility and accountability and improve results across the organization,” according to a press release.
“The results of the structural changes involve significant movement for individuals who have held top leadership positions within Delhaize America and its companies for some time,” the statement said. “As with everything we do, the decisions we announced to our associates today were made in the best interests of our customers, associates and shareholders.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.