Fleming Says Two Executives Resigned From Retail Operation

NEW YORK - Two senior executives at Fleming Cos. have resigned from their posts at the company's discontinued retail operations, a spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

Keith Durham, who was senior VP at the Dallas grocery distributor and president of its retail operation; and Tim Otte, who had been chief financial officer of the retail operation, resigned from the company earlier this month, the spokesman said.

Durham, who had joined Fleming in July as senior VP of retail after serving as vice president of operations at Costco Wholesale Corp., had become president of the retail operation in September.

Durham had replaced J.R. Campbell, a former executive at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who left the company citing medical reasons.

The spokesman said that while a few senior executives still remain Fleming's retail unit, they all will be gone by the middle of 2003 if the company meets its goal to divest all of its stores by then. The bulk of Fleming's remaining stores are located in the Midwest and Texas.

Fleming recently learned it is the subject of an informal inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will focus on various accounting practices in its discontinued retail operations, as well as its trade practices with suppliers and its earnings reports.

The inquiry into the retail operation includes a probe of Fleming's accounting for certain sales transactions with an unaffiliated vendor, and an inquiry into the way Fleming calculated the retail operation's same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year -- a key measure of retail performance.
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