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CEO, merchant succession in place at Tractor Supply

Tractor Supply Company president and COO Greg Sandfort will succeed James Wright as CEO of the 1,135 store chain effective January 1.

The nation’s largest retail farm and ranch store chain on Friday morning confirmed a management succession planned it had telegraphed for years. Current president and COO Greg Sandfort will assume the role of president and CEO on January 1 and join the board of directors. He replaces current chairman and CEO James Wright who will transition to the role of executive chairman for a one year term. In addition, SVP of merchandising Steve Barbarick was elevated to the role of EVP of merchandising. Barbarick joined Tractor Supply as a buyer in 1998 and was named vp/dmm in June 2003 and svp of merchandising in May 2009.

Sandfort joined Tractor Supply as chief merchandising officer in November 2007 and has been instrumental in the company's ability to effectively grow sales and operating margins while improving operating efficiencies and inventory productivity, according to the company. He was named president and CMO in February 2009 and became president and COO in February 2012.  Sandfort came to Tractor Supply from Michaels Stores where he served as president and COO. Prior to Michaels he spent time with Sears and Federated Department Stores.

Wright is relinquishing his role at the company after a career that began in October 2000 when he was named president and COO. Wright, was named CEO in October 2004 and he assumed the role of chairman in November 2007.

Sandfort will have large shoes to fill at Tractor Supply as Wright oversaw a decade of dramatic growth at the specialty retailer. During his tenure, Tractor Supply grew revenues from $759 million in 2000 to $4.2 billion in 2011, increased market capitalization from $80 million in 2000 to its current level of $6.9 billion and expanded the store base from 305 stores at the end of 2000 to more than 1,135 stores today.

"It has been an honor to serve Tractor Supply Company through the successful growth of our unique retail concept," Wright said. "Tractor Supply is strongly positioned competitively, operationally and financially. With the talented team we have in place today, this is an ideal time to complete our planned management succession plan."

Sandfort said he looked forward to building on the momentum the company achieved under Wright’s leadership and indicated he is aligned with his predecessor on strategy.

"We have built a stable and differentiated business model that serves a unique niche in the retail marketplace," Sandfort said. "I am confident that this will be a smooth transition that enables the company to continue executing its key strategic initiatives that have driven our outstanding performance in recent years."

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