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The stage is set for a new era of family leadership to take the helm at Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle in early 2012, when the company’s longtime and well respected CEO, David Shapira, formally passes the reigns to his daughter, Laura Shapira Karet. John Lucot, 54, meanwhile, will add the president’s title to his existing COO leadership duties at the privately held regional retailer.
Karet, who was honored as one of Progressive Grocer’s 2010 Top Women in Grocery, will assume her new role as CEO of Pittsburgh’s dominant supermarket chain effective Jan. 9, as the successor to her father, who has been CEO since 1980 and who will serve as executive chairman of the privately owned Giant Eagle’s board of directors.
Shapira, who has played an integral role in shaping the growth of the company for more than four decades of its 80 year-history, praised the board’s unanimous approval of Karet’s and Lucot’s new roles based on their track record of leadership and innovation, as well as their strong executive and personal qualities.
“Laura has an extensive background in food retailing and manufacturing, both within and outside of Giant Eagle,” said Shapira, noting his daughter’s “amiable and open style [that] has won the respect of our 36,000 team members, customers, suppliers and business partners.”
For her part, Karet said Giant Eagle’s “success is made possible by the commitment to our founding principles, and the continued dedication of…[its] team members who deliver the Giant Eagle experience to customers each day.” Karet said she aspires to “emulate the type of leader that my father has been for our company, while continuing to cultivate a dedication to high-quality foods, great customer service and investing in the communities we serve.”
Prior to joining Giant Eagle, Karet held executive marketing positions at Sara Lee from 1997 to 2000, as well as at Procter & Gamble from 1990 to 1997. She joined Giant Eagle in 2000 as VP of marketing and most recently served as senior executive VP and chief strategy officer, where she was responsible for the development and management of Giant Eagle’s long-term business plan and overall direction of its corporate priorities and innovations.
Lucot began his Giant Eagle career in 1974 as a supermarket clerk. His tenure has included executive positions in distribution, retail development, real estate and operations. Currently the company’s COO, Lucot has been instrumental in the development of Giant Eagle’s GetGo, real estate and independent operations businesses.
“John has been an integral part of our company’s success for decades,” Shapira said. “His exhaustive understanding of how the business functions at all levels has been invaluable to the organization and will continue to serve Giant Eagle well in his new capacity.”
As one of the nation’s largest food retailers and distributors with $9.3 billion in annual sales, Giant Eagle operates 170 corporate and 58 independently owned supermarkets, in addition to 166 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.