Inside This Issue - News
Standley to succeed Sammons as Rite Aid CEO in June
February 15th, 2010
CAMP HILL, Pa. – John Standley, president and chief operating officer of Rite Aid Corp., will take over as chief executive officer in June, succeeding Mary Sammons, who will continue to serve as chairman until June 2012.
The promotion is part of the chain’s leadership succession plan and was approved at a recent regular meeting of the board of directors.
Standley, who will take the baton as Rite Aid CEO at the company’s annual meeting, is in his second stint at retailer. He rejoined the drug chain in his current role in September 2008 after departing in August 2005 to become chairman and CEO of Pathmark Stores Inc. After engineering a turnaround at Pathmark that culminated in the supermarket chain’s 2007 acquisition by A&P, Standley served in an advisory capacity to Sammons for some months before his official rehiring.
He first joined Rite Aid in December 1999 as part of a new management team that included Sammons, then in Standley’s current role of president and COO. Between 1999 and 2005, Standley served in a succession of posts, including chief administrative officer, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Sammons intends to be an active chairman after the transition and will continue to represent Rite Aid in industry and government affairs as well as assist with strategic initiatives, as needed.
“When I asked John to return to Rite Aid, I knew he would move swiftly to improve our company’s operations,” Sammons said in a statement. “As president and COO, he’s helped us manage through this recession and set in motion initiatives to grow our company for the future. We are in a much stronger financial position today in large part due to his leadership.
“His many accomplishments in such a short time as president and COO and his previous successful track record at our company demonstrate his ability to guide Rite Aid as its next CEO," she added.
Among the major initiatives launched under Standley’s operational leadership are a segmentation program that has involved developing varied operating models for Rite Aid’s stores, differentiating them by market and sales volume. As a result, marketing, merchandising and operations are all being tailored to the characteristics of a given store.
In an interview with Chain Drug Review last summer, Standley pointed out that many of Rite Aid’s low-volume stores either were profitable or had the potential to be profitable.
A number of measures, including reducing store deliveries to a biweekly schedule and the replacement of salaried assistant store managers with hourly shift supervisors, were introduced to enhance the profitability of those locations. To further enhance store-level performance, Rite Aid has implemented labor-scheduling tools for store managers’ use.
A more recent initiative to spark sales growth is the launch of Rite Aid’s wellness + loyalty card program in four test markets last autumn, which has produced encouraging initial results, Standley told analysts during Rite Aid’s third quarter conference call in December.
“Next year we should continue to see significant benefit from our segmentation initiatives; we have some exciting merchandising initiatives under development, particularly for our low-volume stores; and we have the chainwide rollout of our wellness + loyalty program,” he summed up.
“The combination of these initiatives with some additional store operations, distribution center and marketing initiatives that are under development should help us grow profitable sales and further improve our cost structure," Standley said.