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NEW YORK -- Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. will put Robert Miller, current chairman of natural and organic food retailer Wild Oats and drug chain Rite Aid, at the helm of the Albertsons grocery operations it is acquiring as part of the grocery deal of the decade, once that deal closes mid-2006.
Miller will run the 655 Albertsons units in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Northern California, Florida, the Rocky Mountains, and the Southwest. The stores in total have in excess of $10 billion in sales revenue. Cerberus, which includes Kimco Realty Corporation, Schottenstein Stores Corp., Lubert-Adler Partners and Klaff Realty, LP, said it plans to operate the stores under the Albertsons banner on an ongoing basis. The new company under Miller as c.e.o., will be headquartered in Boise, Idaho. He will assume his position upon the close of the sale.
Wild Oats, for its part, said Miller will not stand for reelection to its board because of his planned move to the Cerberus Albertsons operation.
Miller is a food industry veteran, having been chairman and c.e.o. of Fred Meyer, Inc. from 1991 until 1999, when Meyer merged with Kroger; at that time, Kroger named him vice chairman and c.o.o.
Since late 1999, Miller has been chairman of the board of Rite Aid, and was c.e.o. from December 1999 until June 2003. He will continue to hold the chairman position at Rite Aid.
"I am excited that I will be back in the grocery business, in areas I am familiar with from my past," said Miller. "Our goal will be to build a successful operation by focusing on what is important to our customers in each market. I have spent time working in each of the regions we will be operating and I am looking forward to getting into the stores and meeting our associates and customers."
As if his other duties were not enough, Miller is also a director at Harrah's Entertainment and a member of the board of Nordstrom Inc.