The supermarket retailer late Monday announced that chief operating officer Anthony Hucker will serve interim president and CEO effective July 1 as the company searches for a successor to McLeod.
Plans call for McLeod, who succeeded Randall Onstead as president and CEO in March 2015, to remain in his current role through June 30 to assist with the leadership transition.
“It has been a difficult decision to leave my role as president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, but I believe the new position will be a positive opportunity for me and in the best interests my family,” McLeod said in a statement. “I want to thank our thousands of loyal and dedicated associates; it’s your hard work and dedication that has helped set this company on a path to an even brighter future. I have tremendous confidence in Anthony and the rest of the leadership team. and I know that I’m leaving Southeastern Grocers in good hands.”
A 30-year retail veteran, McLeod joined Southeastern Grocers in 2015 after serving as group commercial director at Australia’s Wesfarmers Group, whose retail businesses include supermarkets, discount department stores and home improvement and office supply outlets.
Wesfarmers Group acquired Coles in late 2007 and named McLeod as managing director. Before that, he was CEO of Halfords Group, a British retail chain specializing in car parts, cycling products and outdoor leisure goods. He also spent 20 years with Asda supermarkets, the British supermarket group acquired by Walmart in 1999.
“We are grateful for Ian’s stewardship of the business during his tenure,” Southeastern Grocers stated. “Under Ian’s direction, Southeastern Grocers has made substantial progress on our transformation plan and established great momentum. We wish Ian and his family the best as they embark on a new adventure.”
Before coming to Southeastern Grocers last year COO, Hucker was president and COO of Schnucks. Prior to that, he served as president of Giant Food and head of Walmart’s strategy and business development division. He also spent 10 years as part of the original start-up team with Aldi U.K. We expect a seamless transition under Anthony’s leadership.”
“We are pleased that Anthony Hucker will be stepping in as president and CEO on an interim basis,” Southeastern Grocers said. “As COO, Anthony has a strong familiarity with our business, our stakeholders, our challenges and opportunities, and the strategic direction of the company. He brings extensive knowledge of the retail grocery sector, with more than 18 years of experience in leadership roles across our industry in the U.S.”
The fifth-largest U.S. supermarket chain and the second-largest in the Southeast, Southeastern Grocers has more than 730 grocery stores, as well as liquor stores and over 500 in-store pharmacies, in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina under such banners as BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie.
“It has been a privilege to work with Ian, and I wish him all the best,” Hucker commented. “I am humbled and honored that the company has selected me as the interim president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers. I look forward to working with the rest of the leadership team and representing our outstanding associates as we continue to focus on our strategic transformation and positioning the business for long-term success.”