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Veteran international retail executive Ian McLeod will take the reins of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie, as president and CEO, effective March 2, 2015. McLeod succeeds Randall Onstead, who as Progressive Grocer previously reported, will remain in place through the end of February to ensure a smooth transition.
In a statement, Bi-Lo Holdings' board of directors called McLeod "a proven leader with more than 30 years of expertise and a strong track record of driving profitable growth. In his time running over 2,200 Coles food, liquor and convenience stores, which employs 100,000 associates across Australia and includes over 760 full-service supermarkets, he led a major turnaround in that business, improving the quality and value of products as well as the service and store standards offered to customers."
Bi-Lo Holdings' board also praised McLeod for "significantly increased sales from $23.2 billion to $35.2 billion, doubling profits during six years and outperforming in the market for 20 consecutive quarters. We are confident he will be instrumental in driving continued growth and success at Bi-Lo Holdings as we execute our strategy and work to further enhance our customers’ shopping experience.”
For his part, McLeod said Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie "brands have a strong history" backed by a "70,000 hardworking employees. I am excited to move to the U.S. and join the team at this important time,” said McLeod, noting that he also intends to "[leverage] my experience to help build upon Bi-Lo Holdings’ reputation by serving our loyal customers even better, attracting new customers through great quality and value and further strengthening our competitive position within the industry.”
McLeod previously served as group commercial director for Wesfarmers Group, one of Australia’s largest listed companies and one of its largest employers with diverse business operations, including supermarkets, discount department stores, home improvement and office supplies, coal production and export, chemicals, energy and fertilizers, and industrial and safety products. Wesfarmers Group acquired the Australian retail group, Coles, in late 2007 and appointed McLeod as managing director to lead the challenging turnaround of the company, consisting of over 2,200 food, liquor and convenience stores, including over 760 supermarkets, 800 liquor stores and 640 gas stations across Australia.
Prior to Coles, McLeod was CEO of Halfords Group Plc, a British retail chain specializing in car parts, cycling products and outdoor leisure goods. Prior to that, he spent 20 years with ASDA supermarkets, a British supermarket group acquired by Wal-Mart in 1999, where he was a member of the U.K. management board and also spent 12 months as a member of the executive board of Wal-Mart Germany.
McLeod attended the Harvard Business School AMP program in 1999 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Scotland in 2010 for services to business and retail.
Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is the fifth-largest conventional supermarket chain in the U.S. and the second-largest conventional supermarket in the southeast based on store count. The company employs more than 72,000 associates who serve customers in 801 grocery stores, 530 in-store pharmacies and 146 liquor stores throughout the eight southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.