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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. on Wednesday filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking authorization to provide a $2 million retention payment as an incentive to its president and c.e.o., Peter Lynch. The incentive would require that Lynch stay on with the company at least through Dec. 31, 2006.
"Peter Lynch has been a strong and effective leader at a time of tremendous challenge at Winn-Dixie," noted Winn-Dixie spokesman Michael Freitag in a statement. "His accomplishments include the development and implementation of the new store footprint plan and numerous merchandising, marketing, and customer service initiatives. Perhaps most importantly, he has helped strengthen associates' sense of pride in Winn Dixie and given the organization a clear sense of purpose and direction."
Freitag said the incentive request is "intended to help ensure that Mr. Lynch continues to provide outstanding leadership and guidance to Winn Dixie as the company prepares for emergence from Chapter 11 later this year."
If Lynch voluntarily leaves the company before Dec. 31, 2006 or is fired for cause, he will have to return the compensation.
"Talent like Peter's is in great demand in the supermarket industry -- and in Corporate America in general," added Freitag. "The Winn Dixie Board believes strongly that the company is fortunate to have Peter Lynch as president and chief executive officer."
Winn-Dixie chairman Jay Skelton sent a similar message to Winn-Dixie associates on behalf of the Board of Directors Wednesday evening, said Freitag.