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    J.K. Symancyk Departing Meijer for Academy Sports + Outdoors

    Will assume new president/CEO duties Nov. 2

    J.K. Symancyk is departing Meijer to join sports, outdoor and lifestyle retailer Academy Sports + Outdoors Nov. 2.

    J.K. Symancyk, who has served as president of Meijer Inc. since January 2013, is departing the multi-billion Midwest regional retailer to join Katy, Texas-based sports, outdoor and lifestyle retailer Academy Sports + Outdoors.

    Symancyk, who was named to lead the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer one year after his appointment as its COO, led the 220-store supercenter chain through a tremendous growth phase that resulted in nearly three years of positive comp growth, new market expansion and the development of a long-term diversification strategy. Earlier this month, Progressive Grocer named Meijer as its 2015 Retailer of the Year, full coverage of which will appear in the leading food industry trade publication's upcoming October issue.

    "I'm humbled and thrilled by the opportunity to become a part of the Academy Sports + Outdoors family, and I feel fortunate to be succeeding such a charismatic and accomplished leader as Rodney," said Symancyk. "The future for Academy Sports + Outdoors is truly limitless, and I'm eager to ensure we continue offering customers convenience, a broad selection of quality products and exceptional customer service as we strive to remain the low price leader in our category."

    Further noting his anticipation to get "to know our associates and vendors" and the related collaborative opportunities "to become the national, regionally relevant, locally merchandised, sporting goods, outdoor and lifestyle retail store of choice," Symancyk will succeed Rodney Faldyn, who led Academy during KKR's ownership, including growing its store count by 50 percent, launching a new e-commerce platform, implementing a new Oracle retail management system, and most impressively, driving strong performance by doubling cash flow from earnings during his time as CEO.

    Symancyk joined Meijer in 2006 as VP of perishables, and was named EVP of merchandising and marketing in 2007 prior to his subsequent role as COO in 2012. Before joining Meijer, Symancyk served in various leadership roles at Wal-Mart Stores' Sam's Club division.

    "I'm confident that J.K. will fully embrace the Academy culture, drive future growth and continue to provide amazing customer service through our 200+ stores and online," said Faldyn.

    Added Nate Taylor, Academy's board chairman and head of KKR's Retail – Americas: "J.K. is an exceptional retail strategist with a strong business and financial acumen and proven track record of success. We believe that he will strengthen an already talented management team and enhance a corporate infrastructure that is well positioned for the future.  We are also confident in J.K.'s commitment to delivering exceptional customer service, maintaining everyday low prices, fostering team culture, and developing Academy's omnichannel retail environment."

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