Kearney Leaderboard

Standley takes helm as new Rite Aid CEO

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There's a new chief executive officer in town at Rite Aid Corp., and his name is John Standley.

Standley, 47, was set to become Rite Aid president and CEO after the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday. He takes the chief executive reins from Mary Sammons, 63, who has served as Rite Aid's CEO since 2003 and as chairman since 2007.

The leadership transition comes on the same day that Rite Aid reported a smaller loss and a dip in sales for its fiscal 2011 first quarter. One of Standley's key strategic initiatives is to boost performance at the drug chain's low-volume stores.

"During the quarter, we made excellent progress on our initiatives," Standley commented.

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Before the end of the day, Rite Aid Corp. will get a new chief executive officer: John Standley.

Standley, 47, is set to become Rite Aid president and CEO after the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday in Camp Hill, Pa. He will take the chief executive reins from Mary Sammons, 63, who has served as Rite Aid’s CEO since 2003 and as chairman since 2007.

Rite Aid announced the move in January and said Standley’s promotion is part of the company’s executive succession plan and approved by the board of directors. The plan calls for Sammons to remain chairman until the company’s annual meeting in June 2012.

Standley is a veteran of the food and drug retail sector. He returned to Rite Aid in September 2008 as president and COO after leaving in August 2005 to become CEO and a board director at Pathmark Stores Inc., which is now part of A&P.

He had originally joined Rite Aid in December 1999 as executive vice president and chief financial officer as part of a new executive management team that also included Sammons. He has served as a Rite Aid board member since last June.

Under Standley’s operational leadership at Rite Aid, major initiatives include a segmentation program that has involved developing varied operating models for the drug chain’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. He pointed to such efforts as the chain’s new wellness+ customer loyalty program, merchandising programs, and store-level staffing and operational improvements as measures that the retailer is taking to boost overall store performance.

"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 at the time.


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