Lidl US has named a new CEO after its current CEO announced on April 20 that he is resigning in order to spend more time with his family.
Lidl US President and CEO Johannes Fieber is leaving at the end of May, and Michal Laguionek, a longtime Lidl executive based in Germany, will be taking his place, Fieber said in a letter to employees.
"For millions of Americans, and indeed for me as well, this past year stressed the importance of family," Fieber wrote. "Nothing is more important. I am immensely proud of our team’s work bringing greater stability and food access to families across our communities this past year. Now that the outlook in the United States has stabilized and brightened, I have decided to take a break from my career to spend more time with my wife and three little girls. I have missed being with them more during these demanding times."
Fieber took over the reins at Lidl US in 2018, replacing Brendan Proctor, who had led the chain’s U.S. expansion since June 2015, when it established its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
Laguionek brings more than two decades of international retailing experience to Lidl US.
“I want to thank Johannes for his leadership and significant contributions to Lidl US over the last three years," Laguionek said in an emailed statement to Progressive Grocer. "I look forward to working with the Lidl US team to continue to strengthen and grow our store network, and provide shoppers across our communities with incredible quality and unbelievable prices every day.”
The leadership moves at Lidl come as the grocer is just getting its retail strategy right in the United States.
Last August, the company revealed plans to open 50 new stores by the end of 2021. The stores will be located in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, bringing the grocer’s total number of U.S. stores to more than 150.
The $500 million-plus investment in the new stores is anticipated to create about 2,000 new jobs across these communities, according to Lidl, which offers such benefits as health care insurance for all full- and part-time employees.
Additionally, to help support its growth, Lidl opened its third regional headquarters and distribution center, in Cecil County, Maryland, last year, and has disclosed plans to open its fourth distribution center, in Covington, Georgia, over the next two years.
Lidl opened its first U.S. stores in June 2017. It will open a new store in Manassas, Viriginia, this week.
Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates about 11,200 stores in 32 countries, employing more than 310,000 employees worldwide. In the United States, the Arlington, Virginia-based grocer has more than 130 stores in nine East Coast states. The company is No. 96 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.