Albertsons Announces Major Operational Changes

BOISE, Idaho - Albertsons Inc. on Friday announced major changes in its senior leadership ranks and organization structure, including new programs to promote customer service, quality and new format development.

First, Albertsons said it would launch a business-wide Six Sigma Quality program, bringing "a new level of productivity and customer service" to the food and drug retailing industry. Albertsons' chairman, c.e.o. and president Larry Johnston, a former executive with General Electric, added that Six Sigma has transformed industrial giants like GE, Allied Signal and 3M, and said it holds the same potential in food and drug retailing. Leading the effort will be Jim Gentile, who has been named s.v.p. of Six Sigma Quality.

The company also announced it is establishing a new centralized customer service operation, consolidating customer service operations for every major banner in all 2,300-plus stores under one leadership team. The new team will have responsibility for front end operations, the national customer service center, the national "Service Challenge", store process implementation and the "Customer First Second to None Program," among others. Pam Powell, currently group v.p. of marketing, has been chosen to lead the new effort and has been named s.v.p. of customer service.

Major changes are also occurring in food operations, as several division consolidations and new leadership appointments were announced as follows:

• Four former divisions -- Southwest, Intermountain, Northwest and Rocky Mountain -- have been consolidated to form the new Intermountain West Division headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Bob Butler, formerly e.v.p. of Western Operations, has been named to lead the new division and is also being named e.v.p. of food operations for the entire company with the responsibility for co-coordinating all division presidents.

• The former Acme and Florida divisions have been consolidated into one new Eastern Division. Carl Jablonski, currently president of Acme Markets, becomes president of this new division headquartered in Philadelphia. Larry Wahlstrom, currently president of the Florida Division, moves to Boise, and becomes assistant to the chairman for special projects reporting to Larry Johnston.

• Donna Robbins has been named president of the Northern California Division succeeding Jim Gentile. This division continues to be headquartered in the San Francisco area.

• As announced two weeks ago, Judy Spires has been named president of the Dallas Ft. Worth Division serving Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska & Louisiana. The division will continue to be headquartered in the Dallas area.

The company now has seven operating divisions (six food and one Drug).

Finally, a new division is being formed to develop new formats and also manage the company's large store construction and remodel programs. Roe Cefalo, who has served as e.v.p. of Eastern Operations for the past four years, becomes e.v.p. of real estate, construction, store development, and new formats for both food and drug. In this new role, Cefalo will have responsibility for the company's $1.3 Billion Capex Program as well as operating responsibility for new format development.

Mike Clawson, formerly president of the Northwest Division, has been named president of the company's new price impact division reporting directly to Cefalo.

In the future, the company plans to open price impact stores in multiple cities across the U.S. This new division will be completely autonomous and operated separately from Albertsons' traditional food and drug operations.

Based in Boise, Idaho, Albertsons employs more than 200,000 employees and operates approximately 2,300 retail stores in 31 states across the United States, under banners including Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Albertsons-Osco, Albertsons-Sav-on, Sav-on Drugs, Osco Drug, and Super Saver.
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