German discount retailer Lidl is experiencing a leadership shakeup at its U.S. operations. CEO Michal Lagunionek is stepping down from his position at Arlington, Va.-based Lidl US, according to German trade publication Lebensmittel Zeitung. Prior to assuming the U.S. CEO role two years ago, Lagunionek was a longtime Lidl executive based in Germany. According to Lebensmittel Zeitung, he will return to Europe after a "short sabbatical" in the fall.
Lagunionek’s U.S. replacement will be Joel Rampoldt, a Miami-based retail and wholesaler consultant who is new to the company. Lidl confirmed to Progressive Grocer that Rampoldt will assume the CEO position in September. "Joel has many years of extensive retail expertise and has worked at AlixPartners, a global consulting company, as a partner and managing director, and at KPMG," said Lidl in a statement.
Rampoldt has been withAlixPartners for the past five years. According to his bio on AlixPartners' website, Rampoldt has helped retailers drive sales and margin improvement by focusing on their key commercial levers: pricing, promotions, assortment, localization, freshness and vendor negotiations. He has achieved positive financial outcomes in comp sales, gross margin, cost of goods sold and perishable shrink. Rampoldt has an MBA in finance from the Yale School of Management.
Rampoldt will become the fourth CEO since the company’s creation of its U.S. headquarters in June 2015. Prior to Lagunionek’s appointment asCEO of Lidl US in 2021, the position was held by Johannes Fieber, who, after three years in the role, revealed that he was resigning to spend more time with his family. Fieber took over the reins from Brendan Proctor in 2018.
Amid its latest leadership change, the discount grocer has recently been focusing on store performance and potential with a round of store openings and closings, including some in the same market. For example, while Lidl welcomed shoppers to a new location at 3005 Martinsville Road in Greensboro, N.C., on June 28, the company shut another store in nearby Thomasville on July 16.
Lidl US currently operates more than 170 stores across nine east coast states and Washington, D.C. Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl has more than 12,000 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing more than 360,000 employees globally. Lidl US is No. 91 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.