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SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Penn Traffic Company on Thursday announced it has appointed James A. Demme as its new chairman of the board, effective upon bankruptcy court approval, which is expected on Sept. 16. Demme, known in the supermarket industry for guiding Bruno's Inc. and Homeland Stores through successful reorganizations, will replace Peter L. Zurkow, who will remain as a director of the company.
"Jim Demme has a proven track record in generating positive sales growth and improving the profitability of the supermarkets he has led," said Zurkow.
Syracuse, N.Y.-based Penn Traffic, which operates 211 supermarkets in six Northeastern states, announced that for the first five months of his appointment, Demme will work on a full-time basis in Syracuse and be responsible for strategic planning, operational improvements and the business planning process. He will also help the board of directors to identify and screen candidates for a permanent CEO, the company added.
After the initial period, Demme will take a more traditional chair role and work with the company on a part-time basis, said Zurkow.
"I am excited to be joining the Penn Traffic team," said Demme. "Strong core operations, solid brand names, enviable market share in most of its markets, 17,000 dedicated employees and a seasoned management team -- these are major advantages Penn Traffic enjoys as we seek to return the company to a growth path. I am very confident that we will be able to develop and implement a business plan enabling Penn Traffic to exit reorganization as a stronger, more competitive company."