In addition to a John Fleming sighting in Minneapolis, Walmart alums John Menzer and Craig Herkert made news of their own this week.
Menzer resigned as CEO of Michaels following a stroke he suffered back in April, while Herkert was let go from his CEO role at Supervalu following a string of poor results.
Menzer left Walmart in early 2009 after a career in which he served as chief administrative officer, CEO of Walmart International and CFO of Wal-Mart Stores. After he retired from Walmart, he surfaced as the CEO of Michaels, the nation’s leading arts and crafts retailer with more than 1,000 stores. Following his stroke in April, Michaels created an office of the CEO comprised of Lew Klessel, interim COO and a managing director of Bain Capital, and Chuck Sonsteby, Michael’s chief administrative officer and CFO. The pair will continue to lead the company until Menzer’s successor is hired.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with John and his family during his ongoing recovery, said Matt Levin, managing director with Bain Capital Partners, the private equity firm who, along with The Blackstone Group, owns 93% of Michael’s outstanding shares. “We will greatly miss his leadership, passion and enthusiasm, but the imprint he has left on the company will endure in its people and their commitment to excellence. John's contributions to Michaels cannot be overstated and he will always remain part of the Michaels family.”
The words were less kind regarding Herkert’s departure from Supervalu, a company he joined as CEO in 2009 after serving as Walmart International’s president and CEO of the Americas. In all fairness, Herkert inherited a difficult situation at Supervalu, but he failed to meaningfully improve the company’s performance and lost the confidence of the food retailer’s board. The final straw came on July 11 when Supervalu shares tumbled following the release of financial results in which earnings per share of 19 cents were about half of what analysts expected. To conserve cash, Supervalu suspended its dividend, and Herkert announced the company was for sale.
Less than three weeks after the bad news was delivered to investors, the company announced Herkert had been replaced by Wayne Sales, a current Supervalu board member and the retired vice chairman of Canadian Tire, a leading general merchandise retailer in Canada.
“In my new role, I will work closely with our leadership team to improve our sales and earnings trajectory and generate long-term shareholder value, focusing relentlessly on identifying factors that will drive meaningful improvements in our strategy execution and overall performance,” Sales said. “We will take significant cost out of the business, and move with urgency in our retail food business to lower prices and create points of sustainable differentiation for our customers.”