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GNC taps Rite Aid chief as CEO


Ken Martindale has stepped down as chief executive of Rite Aid Stores to take the reins of the struggling GNC Holdings.

The specialty retailer of vitamins and supplements on Wednesday announced that Ken Martindale would succeed GNC interim CEO Bob Moran, effective Sept. 11. As part of the transition, Moran will become chairman, replacing Michael F. Hines, who will remain on the board.

Martindale most recently served as CEO of Rite Aid Stores and president of Rite Aid Corporation, where he was instrumental in leading the drug store chain's transformation, including the roll out of a new store format and an expansion of the company's loyalty program. His exit comes some three months after Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid scrapped a $9.4 billion merger agreement.

Martindale joined Rite Aid in 2008 as senior executive VP merchandising, marketing and logistics and rose through the ranks. In 2013, he was promoted to president and COO, and took on the additional role as CEO of Rite Aid Stores in 2015. Prior to joining Rite Aid, he was co-president, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Pathmark Stores.

"Ken is a proven leader with deep retail expertise, intimate knowledge of our business through his years of leadership with our partner, Rite Aid, and a record of success in transforming retail business models," said Hines. "I want to thank Bob for stepping in as interim CEO and for putting GNC on the right path."

GNC has struggled with declining sales in recent years. The company is working to turnaround its business with new marketing, a simplified pricing structure for customers and a revamped loyalty program. In July, the company reported net income of $15.7 million for its second quarter, down from $64 million in the year-ago period. Revenues totaled $641.0 million, down from last year's $673.2 million.

"We made good progress in the second quarter, and our investments in pricing, loyalty and improving the customer experience continued to deliver positive results," interim CEO Bob Moran stated in July. "For the second quarter in a row, we saw meaningful transaction growth, improvement in our business and increased enrollment in our loyalty programs. We believe this business is headed in the right direction, and we remain focused on execution and sales growth."

As of June 30, 2017, GNC had approximately 9,000 locations, of which approximately 6,800 are in the United States (including 2,378 Rite Aid franchise store-within-a-store locations) and franchise operations in approximately 50 countries.

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