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BOULDER, Colo. - Following the resignation of c.e.o. Perry Odak, the board of directors for natural and organic foods retailer Wild Oats Markets, Inc. named chairman Gregory Mays interim c.e.o., effective immediately, while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
Odak, who became c.e.o. in 2001, resigned last week after he and the board of directors were unable to reach agreement on the terms of a new or modified employment contract.
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"We are grateful for the leadership and direction provided by Perry Odak during his time here," said Mays. "He stepped in during a difficult period, executed a successful turnaround, and helped establish the company as a true lifestyle brand.
"My colleagues Brian Devine, John Shields, and I are united in our goal to ensure that Wild Oats will have the tools needed to continue to grow the business," Mays said. "As a major natural and organic food retailer in the industry, we will continue to focus on building meaningful connections with our customers."
Mays added that the board is establishing a timetable to name a new c.e.o. "We plan to commence a diligent search that will identify a candidate who understands our customer base and will lead this Company and brand into its next phase of growth," he said.
Mays, a veteran retail executive, was named chairman shortly after joining the Wild Oats board in July 2006. He brings 33 years of retail grocery experience to Wild Oats, having held numerous senior executive positions at food retail companies including Ralph's Grocery Co., Food 4 Less Supermarkets, Alpha-Beta Stores, Alamacs' Supermarkets, and Cala Foods. He currently serves on the boards of Pathmark Supermarkets, Inc., Source Interlink Companies, and Simon Worldwide, Inc.
Wild Oats also formed an executive committee of the board of directors consisting of Brian Devine and John Shields, who will consult with, assist, and support Mays in his interim role.
Devine has been a director of the company since 1997 and is chairman of Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. He serves on the boards of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Retail Federation, Students in Free Enterprise, Georgetown University, the San Diego Padres, and the San Diego International Sports Council.
Shields, an accomplished retail food executive, has been a board member of Wild Oats since 1996 and served eight years as non-executive chairman. He had been president and c.e.o. of First National Supermarkets, where he served for 10 years. He was also non-executive chairman of Homeland Stores and Delray Farms.
Wild Oats operates 114 stores in 24 states and British Columbia under the banners of Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest, and Capers Community Markets.