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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - Fresh Brands, Inc., based here, yesterday promoted Louis E. Stinebaugh to president and c.o.o., and appointed him to its board of directors. The chain also appointed Thomas M. Stemlar as a new independent director and announced the retirement of Mike Houser, the company's executive v.p., president, c.m.o., and vice chairman of the board.
"Since joining us in December, Louis' performance and development of our franchisee relationships has impressed our entire board, and we are delighted to announce Louis' appointment as our new president and c.o.o.," said Walter G. Winding III, Fresh Brands' independent chairman of the board. "Louis' experience and success with the Sentry organization under difficult circumstances makes him an excellent fit for Fresh Brands. This promotion underscores Louis' importance to the company and the faith he has instilled in the board and our franchisees and employees in the months since he has joined us. We are confident that Louis' appointment as our new president and c.o.o. will be well received by our investors, franchisees, lenders, and employees, and will have an immediate, positive impact on us and our operations."
"I thank the board for the confidence that they have shown in me," said Stinebaugh. "Since I've joined the company, I've had a chance to confirm what I saw during my time with the Sentry organization -- that Fresh Brands has a quality core of franchisees and employees. I look forward to working with them and our board to increase shareholder value by implementing our new operational focus that emphasizes our in-store value proposition."
Prior to joining Fresh Brands, Stinebaugh worked for the Sentry operation of Fleming Cos. and SuperValu in Wisconsin, including most recently as the president of the Sentry operations. He has more than 30 years of experience in the supermarket industry. Stinebaugh was also appointed to the board of directors for a term expiring at the 2006 annual meeting of its shareholders.
Fresh Brands also announced the appointment of Thomas M. Stemlar to its board for a term expiring at the 2005 annual meeting of its shareholders. "We are pleased to announce the appointment of Tom to our board of directors," Winding said. "Tom is a highly respected corporate governance expert and will be an excellent board member and audit committee chairman. I strongly believe that Tom will be an excellent addition to our board. We are currently in discussions with another potential board member with excellent industry-related experience, and we hope that we can name another member to our board of directors soon."
Stemlar is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Quality Control Inquiry Committee. Currently a consultant, Stemlar is a recognized corporate governance and audit committee expert. He has authored a book on audit effectiveness and served on an industry commission on audit committees.
Fresh Brands also announced the retirement of its vice chairman, executive v.p., and c.m.o., Michael R. Houser. "Since Mike joined Fresh Brands over 25 years ago, he has made countless invaluable contributions to the company," Winding noted. "Mike's key contributions include building and leading a marketing team that is second to none and that has been among the most innovative and effective in the entire country, working with other similarly sized companies to leverage our collective purchasing power through our Topco and World Brands initiatives, and recognizing and helping us satisfy key consumer trends before our competition. We wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors."
Fresh Brands, Inc. is a supermarket retailer and grocery wholesaler through corporate-owned retail, franchised, and independent supermarkets. The corporate-owned and franchised retail supermarkets currently operate under the Piggly Wiggly and Dick's Supermarkets brands throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois.