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Rite Aid CEO John Standley elected as chairman
May 29th, 2012
CAMP HILL, Pa. – Next month, Rite Aid Corp. president and chief executive officer John Standley will be adding the title of chairman.
Rite Aid said late Friday that Standley, who is already a member of the drug chain's board, will become chairman on June 21 at the company's annual shareholders meeting.
He succeeds Mary Sammons, who has been Rite Aid's chairman since June 2007. He also had succeeded Sammons as CEO in June 2010, being promoted from chief operating officer. Sammons will remain a director on the board.
Standley returned to Rite Aid in September 2008 as president and COO after leaving in August 2005 to become CEO of Pathmark Stores Inc. He originally joined Rite Aid in December 1999 as executive vice president and chief financial officer, part of a new executive management team that also included Sammons.
"John is a proven leader who is highly knowledgeable about our company and has done an outstanding job leading the organization's turnaround efforts since becoming president and CEO in June 2010," Sammons said in a statement. "With the company's strong progress under John's leadership, the board believes the time is right to recombine the roles of chairman and CEO and that this unified structure will provide decisive and effective leadership both within and outside the company."
With Standley at the helm, Rite Aid has seen its wellness+ customer loyalty program thrive, turning into a major sales driver while enlarging shoppers' basket size. The chain also has refreshed its stores and is ramping up the rollout of its "wellness store" format, which features an innovative customer-service concept dubbed the "wellness ambassador."
Rite Aid, too, has seen a resurgence in same-store sales under Standley and continues to shrink its net loss and pare its debt load. The company also has made some key debt refinancing moves and improved productivity and operational efficiency to rein in costs.
"I am grateful for the confidence the board has placed in me and I look forward to working with the entire Rite Aid team to enhance shareholder value through improved business results," Standley stated. "On behalf of the directors and all of our stakeholders, we also express our deep gratitude and appreciation to Mary for her board leadership, and we look forward to her continued guidance and contributions as a director."
Rite Aid also announced that it will keep the post of lead independent director, now held by Michael Regan. In that role, he will head the oversight and monitoring activities of the board that would otherwise be performed by a nonexecutive chairman, the company said. Regan has served as an independent director of Rite Aid since 2007.
Standley's election to the head of Rite Aid's board means that all three of the nation's largest drug chains will have changed chairmen in the past several years. Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp., Rite Aid's chief competitors, moved to a corporate governance structure led by a nonexecutive chairman when their current CEOs took the helm.
With Jeffrey Rein's retirement as chairman and CEO in October 2008, Walgreens named lead director Alan McNally as chairman, and the chain later appointed Greg Wasson to take over as CEO in February 2009. And at CVS Caremark, director David Dorman became nonexecutive chairman in May 2011 with the retirement of Tom Ryan as chairman, part of a succession plan in which Ryan handed the CEO reins to Larry Merlo in March of that year.