CAMP HILL, Pa. — Ken Martindale, who was an integral part of the turnaround team at Rite Aid Corp., has left the company to head GNC Holdings Inc.
Martindale, who was president of Rite Aid and chief executive officer of stores, has become CEO of GNC, which has almost 2,400 stores within a store at Rite Aid locations among its 9,000 plus total units. With his departure, the drug chain promoted Bryan Everett to the new position of chief operating officer of stores. Everett was executive vice president in charge of store operations.
Martindale joined Rite Aid in December 2008 — a year in which its stock fell below $1 and the chain warned of a delisting — as senior executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. He was part of a triumvirate of executives — including chairman and CEO John Standley and former chief financial and administrative officer Frank Vitrano — who led Rite Aid’s recovery, including the development and rollout of its successful Wellness Store format.
Martindale was appointed senior executive vice president and COO in 2010, promoted to president and COO in June 2013, and became CEO of stores in August 2015. Before joining Rite Aid, he was copresident and chief merchandising and marketing officer for Pathmark Stores Inc.
He will now serve another company seeking a rebound. Bob Moran, who was interim CEO of GNC and has been named nonexecutive chairman, said in the spring, “Change at this level is never easy, and in the short term we are feeling the impact on basket size … due to the investments that we have made in price and promotions. Getting customers back in the store is the first critical step and is exactly what we are doing. From here, we have plenty of opportunities to increase average ticket.”
CFO Tricia Tolivar said at the time, “After several years of consistent transaction declines, largely self-inflicted due to consumers’ perception that we were overpriced — as the old pricing model was confusing — we are very pleased that consumers are coming back to GNC.”
GNC said its board will work closely with Martindale to ensure a smooth leadership transition and continue the vitamin and dietary supplement chain’s transformation plan. With his appointment, Michael Hines has stepped down as chairman but remains on the board.
“Ken is a proven leader with deep retail expertise, intimate knowledge of our business through his years of leadership with our partner Rite Aid and a record of success in transforming retail business models,” Hines commented. “I am confident that Ken, with the support of the talented GNC team, Bob and the rest of the board, will continue to deliver improved performance and drive value for shareholders.”
“I have a deep admiration for GNC, the tremendous brand they’ve built and, in particular, the successful work they’re doing to fundamentally transform the business model,” said Martindale. “I’m excited to work with Bob and the team to build on the momentum they’ve created.”
At Rite Aid, Everett will be responsible for store operations, merchandising, distribution and logistics. He will report to Standley. “Since joining Rite Aid two years ago, Bryan has had a significant, positive impact on Rite Aid’s store operations as well as in other areas of our business,” said Standley. “His exceptional leadership skills, strong industry knowledge and his proven track record of operational expertise and success make him the right person to lead key areas of our organization during this important time as we move forward to drive our business, create a great customer experience and deliver value for our stakeholders.”
Everett is an accomplished leader with more than 20 years of experience in store operations. He joined Target Corp. in 2002, where he held various store operations positions of increasing responsibility, rising to senior vice president. In this role, he focused on talent management, operational efficiency and integrated technology solutions. In addition, he led new format, new store and remodeling programs while also overseeing pharmacy and clinic operations. Before joining Target, Everett also held store operations management positions at Fleming Wholesale and Aldi.
“We also wish to thank Ken for his significant contributions to our company since joining Rite Aid in 2008,” Standley added. “We have all benefitted from the opportunity to have worked with Ken, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Two years ago Martindale said, “We’re constantly trying to reinvent ourselves. And when we find something that works, we try to leverage it across our stores.”