After more than three decades, a new chief executive officer will take the helm at Giant Eagle Inc. next year.

Giant Eagle, CEO succession, new chief executive officer, Laura Shapira Karet, David Shapira, John Lucot, CEO, president, chief operating officer, COO, supermarket chain, food retailing, senior leadership team

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Giant Eagle unveils CEO succession plan

November 16th, 2011

PITTSBURGH – After more than three decades, a new chief executive officer will take the helm at Giant Eagle Inc. next year.

The family-operated supermarket chain said Wednesday that its board has named Laura Shapira Karet as CEO, effective Jan. 9, 2012. She will succeed her father David Shapira, who will become executive chairman. He has served Giant Eagle for 41 years of its 80-year history and has been CEO since 1980.

In addition, Giant Eagle announced that chief operating officer John Lucot will add the title of president as of Jan. 9.

The 42-year-old Karet most recently served as senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer, and Giant Eagle noted that she was responsible for the development and management of the company's long-term business plan and setting direction for its corporate priorities and innovations.

"Laura has an extensive background in food retailing and manufacturing, both within and outside of Giant Eagle," Shapira said in a statement. "Her amiable and open style has won the respect of our 36,000 team members, customers, suppliers and business partners."

Karet joined Giant Eagle in 2000 as vice president of marketing. Before that, she held marketing executive positions at Sara Lee from 1997 to 2000, including director of branded marketing for the bakery division, and served in several brand management roles at Procter & Gamble Co. from 1990 to 1997 for household name products such as Crisco shortening, Folgers Coffee, Giorgio Beverly Hills fragrances and Secret antiperspirant.

"Our company's success is made possible by the commitment to our founding principles, and the continued dedication of 36,000 team members who deliver the Giant Eagle experience to customers each day," Karet stated. "I hope to emulate the type of leader that my father has been for our company while continuing to cultivate a dedication to high-quality foods, great customer service and investing in the communities we serve."

Lucot's career at Giant Eagle spans nearly four decades. He started at the retailer in 1974 as a supermarket clerk, and his tenure has included executive positions in distribution, retail development, real estate and operations. As COO, the 54-year-old Lucot has been instrumental in the development of Giant Eagle's GetGo, real estate and independent operations businesses while investing hundreds of millions of dollars in capital reimbursement to ensure that the company's stores deliver a top-notch shopping experience, according to Giant Eagle.

"John has been an integral part of our company's success for decades," Shapira commented. "His exhaustive understanding of how the business functions at all levels has been invaluable to the organization and will continue to serve Giant Eagle well in his new capacity."

Giant Eagle added that over the past decade, with Karet and Lucot as part of the senior leadership team, the retailer has seen significant growth, entering new markets such as Frederick, Md., and Toledo, Ohio; continuing its expansion in Columbus, Ohio; and launching new banners such as GetGo, Giant Eagle Express, Valu King and Market District. The chain also launched its fuelperks! fuel rewards program and enhanced its Own Brands program, which now includes more than 12,000 private-label products.

With about $9.3 billion in annual sales, Giant Eagle has 170 corporate and 58 independently owned and operated supermarkets plus 166 fuel and convenience stores in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north-central West Virginia, and Maryland.