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CHICAGO -- Mark Batenic will assume the post of chairman, president, and c.e.o. of IGA USA in late November, the supermarket trade group said yesterday.
Batenic, currently e.v.p. and c.o.o. of Clemens Markets, Kulpsville, Pa., will remain with Clemens through mid-November to assist the company in the completion of the sale of 22 of its 23 stores to Giant Foods, the Carlisle, Pa.-based division of Ahold USA, and C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
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Once Batenic takes office at IGA in late November, its domestic and international businesses will be divided into two sovereign companies, IGA USA and IGA Global. Batenic will assume responsibilities for IGA's domestic operations, and will report to the IGA USA board. Long-time IGA chairman and c.e.o. Dr. Thomas S. Haggai will become non-executive chairman of IGA, Inc., and c.e.o. of IGA Global, a Singapore Corporation, which he will oversee from his offices in High Point, N.C.
Batenic's appointment marks the first significant management restructuring at IGA since 1986, when Haggai became chairman and c.e.o. after 14 years on the IGA board, including nine years as non-executive chairman.
Haggai disclosed plans a year ago to pass oversight of IGA's U.S. operations to another executive. The search committee that selected Batenic was headed by Drayton McLane, president and c.e.o. of McLane Group, Temple, Texas, who succeeded Ron Marshall as committee chairman when Marshall retired last February as c.e.o. of Minneapolis-based Nash Finch Co.
Batenic said the separation of oversight of IGA's 1,152 domestic stores from its 2,890 stores overseas will enable the company to improve communications among IGA's U.S. retailers, their distribution centers, and the parent company, so that all three have a clear understanding of IGA as a whole.
"With Tom running both the domestic and international operations, there were not enough hours in the day for him to devote adequate time to both groups," Batenic said in a statement. "But as head of IGA USA, my sole purpose will be to enhance the growth of the IGA system in this country and to make sure the retailers and distribution centers are working well with each other and our Red Oval [manufacturer] partners.
"I hope to be able to enhance and grow the firm foundation Tom's been able to build over the last 20 years and give more attention and emphasis to the USA stores," he added.
Batenic has spent most of his career connected in some manner with IGA -- working for Rusty's IGA in Lawrence, Kansas, while he was attending the University of Kansas, then working with IGA retailers throughout most of his 29-year career with Fleming.
"Throughout my career I've worked with independent, family-owned grocers, including my time at Clemens, and I feel terrific about continuing to work with those kinds of entrepreneurial enterprises, which are one of the hallmarks of this country," said Batenic. "I think there are still tons of opportunities for independents to grow and for people to continue to run their own businesses."