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Minyard Food Stores yesterday promoted Ron McDearmon - a 44-year company veteran - to president and CEO, replacing Michael Byars, who had been recruited to grow and restructure the company. McDearmon is Minyard's third c.e.o. since 2006.
While McDearmon took the helm yesterday, a spokesperson for Minyard said the change is not official until today. Suppliers and employees were informed of the change as part of ongoing communications about the transition plan several weeks ago.
"This has been part of our transition plan to a smaller Minyard-only chain since this summer," a Minyard spokesperson told Progressive Grocer. "Mike was instrumental in developing and implementing that plan. Mike Byars' last day was Thursday. He was brought in to the company to grow and manage a 70-store, three-banner [chain] and lead it into a new direction with its Carnival banner and the launch of the flagship store in August 2006. Mike led the Minyard efforts to deal with the tough economic and retail environment and successfully restructured Minyard. He helped develop and successfully implement the transition plan and was instrumental in selecting the right team to move Minyards forward, under the leadership of new CEO and president Ron McDearmon."
The Texas Star-Telegram uncovered the executive change while reporting on last week's closing of an Arlington, Texas store, when the grocer said the store closing was part of a company-wide restructuring.
Byars became CEO in August 2006, succeeding Ron Johnson, who was recruited to run the chain by a Fort Worth-based investment firm that bought the chain from the Minyard family in 2004. Last year he led the sale of 37 stores - including all of Minyard's Hispanic-oriented Carnival markets - to Houston-based Grocer Supply. Several more closures followed, leaving the chain with 17 stores from its original total of 69.
"Our growth plans are modest due to the challenging economic environment we are in," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We closed the store at Green Oaks for business reasons, we closed the store at Red Bird due to a fire, and the Store at Central was planned for closing due to business reasons."
The closing of the Green Oaks store was part of the overall restructuring announced last summer. The goal of the restructuring was to consolidate banners, combine Carnival with the thriving Fiesta brand, give our associates a promising career path and leave Minyards on an even better footing.
"With more than 76 years invested in the Minyard brand, we believe Minyards has much to offer North Texas shoppers through a renewed focus on those familiar and trusted grocery stores," the statement concluded. "Minyard's is now a focused, smaller chain run by experienced local grocery men who understand the value and commitment of the Minyard's legacy."
A former manager interviewed by the Star Telegram said McDearmon would likely bring some stability and credibility to the struggling chain.