Senior VPs among latest Food Lion officials to get ax Delhaize shake-up claims jobs of 15 officials

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 12, 2013

SALISBURY — Fifteen officers are out at Food Lion and parent company Delhaize America in a leadership shake-up that started last month with the replacement of Food Lion President Cathy Green Burns.
Delhaize America on Friday cut 25 percent of high-level leadership positions and internally unveiled a new structure that includes 50 officers. Some positions are new, some were eliminated and some remain the same.
Food Lion and Delhaize America are both headquartered in Salisbury. Spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown confirmed the reduction and said nine of the 15 departing officers work in Salisbury but would not identify them.
According to an internal Delhaize email obtained by the Post, two Food Lion senior vice presidents are among those who lost their jobs on Friday.
T.R. Robinson, senior vice president for merchandising, will be replaced by Karen Fernald. James Egan, senior vice president for retail operations, will be replaced by Greg Finchum.
“Developing the new officer structure required a great number of difficult decisions that led to the departure of many longtime, well-respected leaders,” new Delhaize America CEO Roland Smith said in the email.
Smith started the shake-up in December when he tapped Beth Newlands Campbell, then president of Food Lion’s sister grocery chain Hannaford Supermarkets, to replace Green Burns, as well as other management changes.
With Friday’s changes in place, about 80 percent of Delhaize America officers will be located in Salisbury. Smith has moved the Delhaize America CEO office back to Salisbury. His predecessor, Ron Hodge, was based in Scarborough, Maine.
Cuts of top management come as part of continuing efforts to reduce costs across the company and increase efficiency.
According to the email, Delhaize America initiated an effort last summer to significantly reduce non-production costs and bring the ratio of costs to revenue in line with market standards, with plans to reinvest the savings in stores.
“Despite best intentions and efforts, our cost-saving targets were not achieved,” Smith said.
As a result, during the past six weeks, the Delhaize America Leadership Team has worked to develop a new officer structure “that is both effective at achieving our goals and as efficient as possible,” Smith said. “Through intensive workshops and significant collaboration, each DALT member has worked to develop the structures and teams they need in order to serve their customers, grow our businesses and create shareholder value.”
Food Lion, which makes up the lion’s share of Delhaize, has struggled, closing 113 underperforming stores and pulling out of Florida.
The grocery chain that started in Salisbury in 1957 and now has nearly 1,200 stores in 10 states has lost market share in the Charlotte region as it competes with Walmart, Harris Teeter, Aldi and others. Florida-based Publix also is moving into North Carolina and South Carolina.
Last year, Delhaize America, which shut down the Bloom banner, watched its stock price dip by more than 30 percent. Food Lion’s earnings are not reported separately from Delhaize America, but Food Lion stores that were revamped last year in a rebranding campaign showed modest gains.
Vice presidents who lost their jobs on Friday include:
• Kyle Price, produce merchandising, Food Lion, based in Salisbury
• Pete Bonneau, center store merchandising, Delhaize America, based in Salisbury
• Mike Brooks, strategy, Delhaize America, based in Salisbury
• Jim Corby, produce merchandising, Delhaize America, based in Salisbury
• Steve Culver, government relations – northeast, Delhaize America
• Kristen Hanson, Our Brands, Delhaize America
• Mike Harris, risk management, Delhaize America
• Lisa Miller, sustainability, Delhaize America
• Lisa Toner, legal affairs, Delhaize America
The following vice presidents will leave the company in mid-March after a transition period:
• Shawn Beichler, real estate, Delhaize America, based in Salisbury
• Steve Campbell, organizational development, learning and internal brand and communication, Delhaize America
• Bonnie Moore, associate relations, Food Lion, based in Salisbury
• Eric Watson, diversity and inclusion, Delhaize America, based in Salisbury
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.