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Giant Eagle CEO in abrupt exit

Giant Eagle
A transition is occurring at the top of Giant Eagle’s management structure.

The chief executive of Giant Eagle has departed after 11 years in the role.

The Pittsburgh-based grocery retailer appointed company veteran Bill Artman as interim CEO, effective March 22. He succeeds Laura Karet, who the board determined to separate, as specified in her contract. Her departure marks the end of her family’s participation in the top leadership of Giant Eagle, which it co-founded more than 90 years ago. Karet was named CEO in 2012, suceeding her father,David Shapira, in the role.

"My tenure at Giant Eagle has been incredibly rewarding, and I have been privileged to guide the organization through intricate challenges and unprecedented achievements," said Karet in a statement distributed by the law firm of Latham & Watkins. "Today, Giant Eagle boasts $11.5 billion in sales and operates nearly 500 stores."

Karat added that she looks ahead to her "next chapter' after taking "much-needed" time with her family.

Interim CEO Artman, who will assume day-to-day leadership responsibilities for Giant Eagle,  most recently served as the company's president of supermarkets, overseeing supply chain operations, retail innovation, real estate and construction, retail operations, merchandising, independent retailing/non-banner and culinary operations.

 A company veteran of nearly 40 years. Artman has served in various other leadership roles, including executive VP and senior VP retail operations.

Giant Eagle has also appointed current lead independent director Bart Friedman as chair of the board. Friedman has served on the board for over two years and will be the first non-family chair in Giant Eagle’s history.

“We are pleased to welcome Bill into this new role,” said Bart Friedman, chair of the Giant Eagle board. “Bill has been a valued member of the Giant Eagle team for nearly 40 years, and we are more than confident he is the right leader for the next phase of this storied company.

“His experiences throughout his career with Giant Eagle give him a deep understanding of the unique heritage of this business and position him well to drive toward future growth and continue in our proud tradition of commitment to serving our team members, customers, and communities,” Friedman said. “We’re proud to see someone like him rise through our organization as a leader after starting his career bagging groceries as a customer service clerk.”

“It is a privilege to continue to work with the talented team at Giant Eagle and I look forward to get started in this new role,” said interim CEO Bill Artman. “My main focus is and always has been continuing to support the great team at Giant Eagle, and delivering for our customers and the places where we live and work. Giant Eagle was built on a foundation of passion, hard work, innovation and competitive spirit and I’m proud to continue that legacy.”

[Read more: Giant Eagle seeks to transform category management]

Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle Inc. operates more than 470 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. 

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