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Food Lion names new president as Newlands Campbell resigns

Food Lion will have its third leader in less than two years starting Saturday.

Current president Beth Newlands Campbell is leaving the company, and Meg Ham will replace her, according to a press release from the grocery chain based in Salisbury.

Newlands Campbell is leaving for “personal and professional reasons,” according to the release.

Ham was previously the president of Bottom Dollar Foods, which, like Food Lion, is owned by Delhaize America and based in Salisbury. Ham has been with the Delhaize family since 1988.

Exactly why Newlands Campbell is leaving the company is unclear. She is not leaving to join another company, according to Food Lion spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown, who also said Newlands Campbell was not available for comment Thursday.

Phillips-Brown provided a statement from Newlands Campbell that said, “I have made the decision to leave Food Lion on Nov. 1, 2014, for both personal and professional reasons. I am grateful for the colleagues who have supported me through my 27-year history with the company. During the past several years, Food Lion has fully embraced the legacy upon which the company was founded. I have full confidence the company has revitalized the image for its stores, enhanced service for its customers and is fully committed to serving its communities through Food Lion Feeds. I wish the company and its associates all the best in the future.”

In June, Delhaize America announced it had hired Kevin Holt to be company’s chief executive officer, a position that would’ve been the next step up the career ladder for Newlands Campbell.

When asked if Newlands Campbell’s departure has anything to do with her not getting the CEO position with Delhaize America, Phillips-Brown said she could not elaborate on the specific reason why Newlands Campbell left.

Newlands Campbell started her career with Delhaize at Hannaford, a grocery chain in Maine, and became the president of Food Lion in December 2012, a time when the company was struggling — more than 100 stores were closed that year. She replaced Cathy Green Burns.

She has been lauded for helping to turn the company around by building employee morale and increasing the number of loyal customers.

In June, Food Lion launched Food Lion Feeds, an initiative to help fight hunger with a goal to serve 500 million meals to families in need by 2020.

At the time, Newlands Campbell told the Post Food Lion Feeds was the boldest career move she’d ever made.

Now, it will be up to Ham to continue what Newlands Campbell started.

Ham, who lives in Concord with her husband and two sons, said Food Lion Feeds is an outstanding platform for the company.

She said it “fits hand and glove with our strategy.” She also said Food Lion is on the right path.

“I think Food Lion is on a path where we’re gaining momentum,” she said.

In the release, Kevin Holt said, “We are extremely pleased to tap into internal talent to ensure a seamless transition of Food Lion operations to Meg Ham. … Meg has an extensive retail operations and merchandising background with a strong focus on the customer experience and associate engagement.”

Holt also praised Newlands Campbell.

“I want to thank Beth for her 27 years of service at both Food Lion and Hannaford. She has led significant improvements at Food Lion during the past two years.”

Food Lion has more than 1,100 stores in 10 states and employs more than 63,000 people.

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