USA: Schultz chairman, president and CEO retires
Elwood F. Winn was named to replace Mr. Dickelman as President and CEO. Mr. Winn joined the Company in September 1999 as Senior Vice President - Strategic Planning and has served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary since May 2000. Prior to joining Schultz, he held the President, CEO and CFO positions with another large Midwest wholesale grocery company.
Walter G. Winding III, a current independent director of Schultz, was named Chairman of the Board. Mr. Winding is the owner, President and CEO of Winding and Company, a consulting firm specializing in closely-held enterprises founded in 1994, a partner in Superior Diesel, Inc., Rhinelander, Wisconsin and American Finishing Resources, Inc., Chilton, WI. He has been a Schultz director since July 1999 and also serves on the boards of directors of several privately held companies. Mr. Winding was also a director of Superior Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:SUPR) prior to the sale of Superior in 1999 to Vivendi. This represents the first time in the Company's history that the Board Chairmanship will be held by a non-management director.
Michael R. Houser, the Company's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, has also been promoted to the newly created position of Vice Chairman. Mr. Houser has served in a number of marketing and merchandising positions for the Company during his twenty-three year career and directs and oversees all category management, advertising, customer loyalty programming, procurement and merchandising activities.
Armand C. Go, currently Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Accounting Officer, was named Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary replacing Mr. Winn. Mr. Go joined the Company in 1992 as Manager of Taxes and Financial Reporting. In 1994, he was promoted to Controller and in 1998, he was named Treasurer and Chief Accounting Officer. Before joining Schultz, he worked for KPMG Peat Marwick, a major international public accounting, tax and consulting firm.
In connection with Mr. Dickelman's retirement, the Company has agreed to repurchase approximately 121,000 shares (or about 60%) of his Schultz common stock immediately at a formula price based on Schultz's average closing bid price for its stock. The Company also has agreed with Mr. Dickelman to repurchase the remaining 40% of his Schultz stock after specific intervals during the course of next year at a formula price based on Schultz's then current average per share bid price. These repurchases will be effected outside of the Company's currently authorized $20 million stock repurchase program, which continues to remain in effect. Approximately $7 million of Schultz stock remains authorized for repurchase under the company's current repurchase program.
James H. Dickelman commented, ``It has been a great honor and pleasure to be part of this Company for twenty-six and one half years and a tremendous privilege to be able to serve as its Chairman, President and CEO. I take a great deal of pride in what we, as a team, have accomplished over this period of time. I am especially proud of the individuals that have assisted me and the way they have developed over the years. I feel very confident that they are ready to lead the Company in the future and will do so consistent with the values and traditions upon which it has been built. I greatly value the relationships that have been developed over the years with fellow employees, franchise operators, suppliers and members of the investment and banking communities. I want to thank everyone for the opportunities afforded me and the support that I have received over the years and wish the Company and its new leadership team continued success and prosperity. I look forward to continuing my involvement and relationship with Schultz as a director and consultant.''
Elwood Winn added, ``I am honored to be succeeding Jim as President and CEO. The Company is extremely grateful for his numerous contributions in over a quarter century of dedication. I am particularly pleased that we will continue to enjoy the benefit of Jim's extensive industry experience and knowledge in his continuing capacity as a director and consultant. I look forward enthusiastically to leading the management team in the aggressive pursuit of additional shareholder value. We will focus primarily on (1) growth initiatives that leverage our core competencies in marketing and merchandising food products and services to our franchise, corporate, and retail customers; (2) profitability initiatives that drive EBITDA as a rate to sales; and (3) development of new business systems to support and facilitate our strategic initiatives. We look forward to providing even greater definition to the future of Schultz, which we believe will be exciting and prosperous.''
As a follow-up to this release, the Company has scheduled a conference call for 9:00 a.m. CST, Friday, December 8. Interested parties are invited to call 1-888-323-2714 (press 7286 as passcode, call leader is Elwood Winn).
On a related development, Mr. John H. Dahly, Executive Vice President of the Company, has also announced his decision to retire from his operational responsibilities effective December 8, 2000. Mr. Dahly has served the following roles since he started with the Company in July 1984: (1) as a board member and CFO from 1984 through May 2000; (2) as secretary from March 1989 through May 2000; and (3) as Executive Vice President since May 1990. Mr. Dahly will stay on with the Company until early 2001 to assist the new management team in its transition and as a project consultant thereafter to assist the Company in executing growth initiatives and franchisee projects.
Schultz Sav-O Stores, Inc. is engaged in the food distribution business through franchised and corporate-owned retail supermarkets and as a wholesaler to independent food stores. The Company's franchised and corporate-owned retail supermarkets operate under the name of Piggly Wiggly®.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain matters discussed in this press release are ``forward-looking statements'' intended to qualify for the safe harbors from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as the Company ``believes,'' ``anticipates,'' ``expects'' or words of similar import. Similarly, statements that describe the Company's future plans, objectives, strategies or goals are also forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties including, but not limited, to the following: (1) presence of intense competitive market activity in the Company's market areas; (2) ability to identify and develop new market locations and opportunities for expansion purposes; (3) continuing ability to obtain reasonable vendor marketing funds for promotional purposes; (4) ongoing advancing information technology requirements; (5) the Company's ability to continue to recruit, train and retain quality franchise and corporate retail store operators; and (6) the potential recognition of repositioning charges resulting from potential closures, conversions and consolidations of retail stores due principally to the competitive nature of the industry and to the quality of the Company's retail store operators. Shareholders, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made herein are only made as of the date of this report and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
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