After seven years at helm, Winn-Dixie CEO Peter Lynch is resigning
Wake up and good morning. Peter Lynch says he is resigning after seven years as CEO of Winn-Dixie to make way for the new executive that will be in charge of the Jacksonville-based grocery chain after its acquisition last month by food service company Bi-Lo. Lynch said he’ll stay on with the company for another 60 to 120 days until the merger with Bi-Lo is complete. But he’s preparing for his departure from the company. Read more in the Florida Times-Union. (Lynch photo, left and below right, by Cherie Diez, Tampa Bay Times.)
Lynch will make way for Randall Onstead, chairman of the board for Bi-Lo. Curiously, when contacted by the Times-Union Friday, Bi-Lo spokesman Jed Repko said the company declined to comment when asked if Lynch was forced to resign. In a statement to Winn-Dixie employees, Lynch praised Onstead as the incoming CEO:
" I've known Randall for many years, starting way back when he was the chairman and CEO of Randalls Food Markets, the Houston-based supermarket chain... Randall understands the grocery business, and more importantly, deeply appreciates Winn-Dixie's strengths and the opportunities ahead of us to build on our successes and realize our goals. He also shares my passion for this business, our guests and creating a winning team with you. I am confident that Winn-Dixie will be in good hands." Read Lynch's complete remarks to the employees.
I recall a Tampa Bay Times story by veteran staff writer Mark Albright from 2010 that startled me. It was about Lynch coming to tour Winn-Dixie stores in this area after they had been renovated. After leading the struggling chain out of bankruptcy four years ago, the story said, "Lynch became the first Winn-Dixie chief executive to set foot inside any of the Tampa Bay stores since the early 1990s." That photo (right) is of Lynch on that tour of a dramatically remodeled Winn-Dixie at Rutland Plaza in St. Petersburg and carries the imprint of Lynch's hands-on style.
First Winn-Dixie CEO to visit Tampa Bay stores since early 1990s? And Winn-Dixie wonders what went wrong....
Lynch joined Winn-Dixie in 2004 following a 30-year industry career that included about five years as president and chief operating officer of Albertsons. Winn-Dixie filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2005, shortly after Lynch took over, and emerged in November 2006.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times