By Noel K. Gallagher
Brad Wise has been named president of Scarborough-based Hannaford Supermarkets as part of a larger management shake-up at the parent company, Belgium-based Delhaize.
He replaces Beth Newlands Campbell, who will become president of North Carolina-based Food Lion and Harveys, also Delhaize grocery chains.
Newlands Campbell, who has led Hannaford since February 2010, did not return calls Monday for comment. Wise was not available for an interview, a spokesman said.
The management changes were made by Roland Smith, who was named the new CEO of Delhaize America six weeks ago. Smith is the former CEO of Wendy's restaurants.
A grocery sector analyst said the changes reflect the company's effort to address challenges facing "traditional" grocery stores.
"(Delhaize) is in a lot of trouble," said Wisconsin-based analyst David Livingston. "It operates plain-vanilla grocery stores and they don't have the price advantage of a Walmart or the quality of a Whole Foods. So they're getting squeezed."
Livingston noted that Food Lion closed more than 100 grocery stores last year, and he said the current shake-up was an attempt to "throw this at the wall and see what sticks."
"The whole grocery format is changing," he said. "They're trying to sell horse and buggies in the age of the automobile. If you cannot differentiate from the competition, you can't compete."
Delhaize bought Hannaford about 10 years ago, which may have contributed to the current challenges, Livingston said Monday.
"Delhaize bought them for the efficiencies, and part of that was getting rid of a lot of people," Livingston said. "They probably got rid of a lot of people who knew the New England market."
Wise, a University of Southern Maine graduate, has worked in various roles at Hannaford since the mid-1980s.
Hannaford operates 181 stores in the Northeast. Food Lion has nearly 1,200 stores in 10 states. In January, Food Lion announced plans to close 113 underperforming stores.
Hannaford spokesman Mike Norton said Hannaford has added a few stores annually in recent years, and believes it is positioned well in the grocery sector.
"I think we believe we're priced very well, particularly with our store brand ("My Essentials,") and we feel we offer -- and our customers give us feedback -- that we offer strong customer service and outstanding fresh foods," Norton said.
There have been significant changes to the grocery store business in Maine in recent years, most of which have increased competition and put pressure on long-time Maine grocers like Hannaford and Shaw's.
Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target have expanded their grocery products, while specialty, higher-end niche grocers, like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, have opened stores in Maine.
In September, Market Basket, a 60-store chain in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, announced it would open its first Maine store in Biddeford as part of an $11 million redevelopment of the former Lowe's site at the Shops at Biddeford Crossing.
Information about Wise and Newlands Campbell's compensation was not available, Norton said. That information will be released in future SEC documents.
Delhaize significantly changes its leadership with the announcement, cutting the number of Delhaize America presidents of grocery chains from five to three. Newlands Campbell will now be president of both Food Lion and the 73-store Harveys, while Wise will be president of both Hannaford and the 106-store Sweetbay grocery chain.
"Under the leadership of CEO Roland Smith, the restructuring was conducted to provide greater clarity of responsibility and accountability, and improve results across the organization," according to a memo released to all Delhaize America employees last week.
The other management changes announced were:
• Mike Vail, formerly president of Sweetbay Supermarkets, assumes the role of chief supply chain officer, Delhaize America.
• Greg Amoroso, formerly senior vice president of Business Service Center and Sustainability, assumes the role of chief financial officer, Delhaize America.
• David Criscione, formerly senior vice president of Strategy, Marketing and Business Development, Hannaford Supermarkets, assumes the role of chief strategy and development officer, Delhaize America.
Meg Ham will continue in her role as president of Bottom Dollar Food.
Staff Writer Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:
This story was updated at 10:10 a.m. on Dec. 11 to correct the names of the grocery store chains to be placed under Beth Newlands Campbell's management; Newlands Campbell will be president of Food Lion and Harveys.Tweet
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