GNC Picks Rite-Aid Stores Chief as New CEO

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

A Rite Aid Corp. executive tasked with overseeing its stores has left the company to become chief executive of GNC Holdings Inc., a vitamin and supplement retailer in the midst of its own turnaround campaign.

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Ken Martindale, who worked at Rite Aid for almost nine years, was CEO of Rite Aid Stores and president of the parent company. Mr. Martindale's exit comes three months after Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid scrapped a $9.4 billion merger agreement, with Walgreens instead buying half of Rite Aid's stores.

At GNC, Mr. Martindale will succeed interim CEO Bob Moran, who held the position for more than a year as the company searched for a permanent leader. Mr. Martindale, whose first day as CEO will be Monday, will oversee a company that generated $2.54 billion of revenue last year and had more than 9,000 locations, including stores outside of the U.S.

GNC's interim chief said on a conference call in October that company's next leader will have to contend with "a broken business model" that includes confusing pricing schemes and outdated technology. Over the past year, the company has been working to jump-start flagging sales by revamping its marketing efforts and simplifying its pricing for customers. It launched a new loyalty program earlier this year and a storefront on Amazon.com Inc.

Both Rite Aid and GNC have been hurt by declining foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores and increased competition from online retailers such as Amazon.

Mr. Martindale joined Rite Aid in December 2008 and became the company's first CEO of stores in August 2015.

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Bryan Everett, an executive vice president at the pharmacy chain, was promoted to the newly created position of chief operating officer of Rite Aid Stores following Mr. Martindale's departure. He will report to Rite Aid CEO and Chairman John Standley, who remains in his roles.

Rite Aid shares are down 71% this year, and GNC shares are down 27% this year.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2017 10:12 ET (14:12 GMT)