QUINCY, Mass. — William Grize, former president and chief executive officer of The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and Ahold USA, died Tuesday night after a brief illness, according to the company. He was 63.
Grize retired from the food and drug retail giant in 2005 after a career that spanned nearly four decades. Raised in Waterbury, Conn., he entered the food industry as a teenager, working for five years at a Connecticut beef company doing casework and performing cutting duties, Ahold said. He started his career at Stop & Shop in 1967 as a part-time clerk in the local store.
In the ensuing years, Grize quickly rose through the ranks of Stop & Shop’s Connecticut division, according to the company. In 1990, he became senior vice president and general sales manager of The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., and in 1993 he was promoted to executive vice president of retailing.
Ahold noted that Grize’s innovative ideas and strong work ethic continued to push his
career forward. In 1994, he was named Stop & Shop chief operating officer, adding the president’s title two years later.
And in late 1997, at age 51, Grize was named Stop & Shop’s president and CEO. He was made president and CEO of Ahold USA in 2000 and the next year was appointed to the Royal Ahold corporate executive board.
Grize retired in December 2005 to spend more time with his family, according to Ahold.
Also in 2005, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) awarded Grize the Sydney R. Rabb Award in appreciation of "his exceptional service to the community, consumers and the industry," Ahold said. He served as a member of FMI’s executive board, chairman of the
FMI Industry Relations Council and in various positions on other industry boards.
"Bill’s passing is a great loss to the Ahold USA retail family and the supermarket industry," Carl Schlicker, CEO of Ahold’s four U.S. divisions (Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop Metro New York, Giant-Landover and Giant-Carlisle), commented in a memo to employees. "Our deepest sympathies are with Bill’s beloved wife of 45 years, Emelyn, his son Bill and daughter Dara, and their families and his entire extended family, including the thousands of associates and colleagues whose lives he touched."
Ahold USA ranked 13th in pharmacy dollar volume, with estimated sales of about $2 billion, and 15th in pharmacy count, with 529 locations, in Chain Drug Review‘s 2009 Annual Report of Retail Pharmacy.