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    Fleming Confirms Two Executive Resignations

    NEW YORK - Leading grocery distributor Fleming Cos. Inc. on Friday confirmed the resignation of two senior executives, but said their move has nothing to do with recent developments that have seen its stock price hit historic lows.

    NEW YORK - Leading grocery distributor Fleming Cos. Inc. on Friday confirmed the resignation of two senior executives, but said their move has nothing to do with recent developments that have seen its stock price hit historic lows.

    Fleming spokesman Shane Boyd said William Marquard -- executive VP for business development and chief knowledge officer -- would leave the company in about three months time.

    Thomas Zatina, senior VP of Northern operations, has already left the company, Boyd added. He declined to give reasons for Zatina's departure, but said Marquard's resignation was based on "personal" grounds.

    Marquard joined Fleming in June 1999 after serving as a partner in the consulting practice of Ernst & Young. Zatina had joined Fleming in June 2001.

    Some industry sources say Marquard's responsibilities included the leading of Fleming's alliance with discount retailer Kmart Corp., a key customer that filed for bankruptcy protection in January, according to details from a previous company regulatory filing.

    Asked if the moves were related to the recent developments surrounding the company, Boyd said, "the answer is no".

    Since the start of the month Fleming has had to fend off allegations from two investor lawsuits that it inflated its stock price by falsely portraying sales at its food retailing division.

    On Sept. 4, Fleming called one of the lawsuits "baseless," but its shares have continued to take a hit.

    The company has also launched a "strategic review" of its 127 low-priced food stores, which are hurting from fierce competition from traditional grocers and an expanding Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

    Fleming's shares closed on Friday near 20-year lows, falling 92 cents or 13.9 percent, to $5.70, on the New York Stock Exchange, Reuters reports. Year-to-date the stock has dropped by almost 62 percent.

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