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DALLAS - Fleming Companies Inc. on Monday said Mark Hansen, its chairman and CEO since 1998, has resigned. The company named Peter S. Willmott as interim CEO and president and Archie R. Dykes as non-executive chairman of the board, effective immediately.
The board also named Robert Allen to the new position of acting COO.
Willmott and Allen are directing day-to-day operations while the board conducts an executive search, the company said.
Hansen's departure comes as the company grapples with a stepped-up investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is looking into a host of issues at Fleming, including its vendor trade practices, the presentation of earnings, its accounting for certain sales transactions and its calculation of some same-store sales. The SEC started an informal examination of Fleming in November. Fleming has said it will cooperate with the investigation.
"The board of directors concluded that a change in the management of the company is necessary. The board has great confidence in Pete's leadership, and we are fully focused on supporting Pete as we guide the company through this transition and conduct the executive search to put a new CEO in place as promptly as possible. The board appreciates Mark Hansen's efforts on behalf of the company and we wish him the best," Dykes said.
"The company's goals remain focused on cash flow, reducing debt and realigning costs. Efforts are underway to realign our expense structure and to strengthen our capital structure," Willmott said.
Willmott joined the Fleming Board of Directors in December 2002. He is chairman of Willmott Services Inc. and a director of Federal Express Corporation. His career includes leadership positions at Federal Express, including CFO and, later, president and COO, and at Zenith Corporation, where he was president and CEO. He also served as chairman, president and CEO of the department store, food service and retail services company Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
Dykes has been a director of Fleming since 1981. He is chairman and CEO of Capital City Holdings, a venture capital organization. He is the lead director of PepsiAmericas Inc., and a director of Midas Inc. and Raytech Corporation.
Allen, who joined Fleming in June 2002 when Core-Mark International was acquired by Fleming, most recently served Fleming as executive VP, president and CEO, convenience distribution. In addition to his new role, Allen will continue to lead Fleming's convenience distribution business.