SYSCO Corporation (NYSE: SYY) announced today that Thomas E. Lankford, executive vice president of merchandising and multi-unit sales, has been elected to the company’s Board of Directors to complete the term of retiring chairman Bill M. Lindig, which expires in November 2002. On March 3, 2000 Mr. Lankford was promoted to executive vice president of foodservice operations and FreshPoint, Inc., a recent specialty produce acquisition with approximately $750 million in annual sales. He will assume his new responsibilities and Board position on July 2, 2000, the start of SYSCO’s fiscal year 2001.
Commenting on the transition, Charles H. Cotros, SYSCO’s president and chief executive officer, said, “On April 11, Bill Lindig announced his retirement from SYSCO Corporation, effective July 1, after 30 years of distinguished service. He has served SYSCO Corporation, its employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders, with the utmost integrity and a record of successful performance. The entire SYSCO family thanks him for his dedication, and we wish him a most enjoyable retirement.”
Mr. Cotros added, “It is truly an honor to welcome Tom Lankford to SYSCO’s Board of Directors. He brings over 30 years of foodservice industry experience to the Board, and his knowledge will be an invaluable asset to SYSCO as we continue executing our growth strategies and build upon our current position as the largest foodservice distributor in North America.”
Mr. Lankford, 52, began his career in foodservice distribution at the founding of his family’s business, S.E. Lankford, Jr. Produce Company, the predecessor to SYSCO’s eastern Maryland operating company. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1969 with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics, he joined the company as vice president. When it merged with SYSCO in 1981 to become Lankford-Sysco Food Services, Inc., he was named president of the operation, and went on to serve in additional roles as chairman of SYSCO subsidiaries in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Pocomoke, Virginia.
In 1995, Mr. Lankford was elected senior vice president of operations – northeast region, with responsibilities for companies in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as SYSCO’s Canadian operation in Peterborough, Ontario. In 1999, he relocated to SYSCO’s corporate office in Houston to serve as senior vice president of merchandising and multi-unit sales. Later that same year he was elevated to executive vice president of merchandising and multi-unit sales. Mr. Lankford and his wife, Bonnie, are the parents of two daughters and a son and reside in Houston.
SYSCO is the largest foodservice marketing and distribution organization in North America. Generating projected sales in excess of $19 billion for fiscal 2000, the company provides food and related products and services to about 325,000 to 350,000 customers, including restaurants, healthcare and educational institutions, lodging establishments and other foodservice operations. The SYSCO distribution network, supported by over 39,000 employees, currently extends throughout the entire contiguous United States and Alaska, as well as portions of Canada.
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Certain statements made herein are forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. They include statements regarding company growth strategies, SYSCO’s position as the leader in the foodservice distribution industry and fiscal 2000 annualized sales projections. These statements involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations and management’s estimates; actual results may differ materially. Those risks and uncertainties that could impact these statements include the risks relating to the foodservice distribution industry’s relatively low profit margins and sensitivity to economic conditions; SYSCO’s leverage and debt risks; the successful completion and integration of acquisitions and fold-outs; the risk of interruption of supplies due to lack of long-term contracts, severe weather, work stoppages or otherwise; and other risk factors detailed in SYSCO’s Form S-3 (File No. 333-34036) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 5, 2000.