A&P has confirmed that Sam Martin left the chain as CEO in early January and that Gregory Mays, currently chairman of The Tea Company, will serve as interim CEO until a successor can be found.
Sources within the building at A&P’s Montvale, NJ corporate headquarters have also told us that several other key executives have left the beleaguered chain as it struggles to maintain sales and market shares in two of the most competitive markets in the country – Metro New York and the Delaware Valley. Additionally, speculation is rampant that A&P is ready to sell a “significant bloc of stores in New Jersey and New York,” according to one inside source.
“We thank Sam for all his time at A&P and wish him well in his future endeavors. At the appropriate time in the company’s 2014 planning process, a new chief executive officer will be identified,” said Joanne Fischetti, communications and recruiting manager for A&P.
During his 42 month tenure, Martin’s regime was marked by continuing declining sales, the closure or sale of nearly 100 stores and A&P’s entry and exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy (from December 2010 until March 2012).
Martin joined A&P in July 2010 from Office Max, replacing Ron Marshall, who had held the position for a mere six months. Martin had previous ties with the investment firm that owns A&P, Yucaipa Cos. He had also served as a VP of Fred Meyer when Yucaipa owned that West Coast chain before it was sold to Kroger in 1999.
Just like Sam Martin, Greg Mays, 63, has a long affiliation with Yucaipa Cos. founder and managing partner Ron Burkle. Mays became chairman of A&P in March 2013, after Burkle stepped down from that post.
His previous grocery industry experience includes several executive positions at Ralph’s Supermarkets and Food 4 Less; chairman and CEO of Wild Oats; and a director of Pathmark (later acquired by A&P). Those firms were controlled by Yucaipa as was Source Interlink, a large media publisher and distributor where Mays served as chairman and chief executive. His non-Yucaipa food retailing career also includes stints at Almacs and Furr’s.