JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Southeastern Grocers LLC said it is searching for a president and chief executive officer to succeed Ian McLeod, who announced he would be leaving the company June 30 to take another job.
Anthony Hucker, the company’s chief operating officer, agreed to assume the roles of president and CEO on an interim basis.
“We are grateful for Ian’s stewardship of the business during his tenure,” the company said in a statement last month. “Under Ian’s direction, Southeastern Grocers has made substantial progress on our transformation plan and established great momentum. We wish Ian and his family the best as they embark on a new adventure.”
McLeod has taken a job in Hong Kong as CEO of Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd., owner of about 6,400 stores in Asia, with supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores, health and beauty shops, and home furnishing outlets in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. It also has a 50% interest in Maxim’s, Hong Kong’s leading restaurant chain.
“It has been a difficult decision to leave my role as president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, but I believe the new position will be a positive opportunity for me and in the best interests my family,” McLeod explained in a statement. “I want to thank our thousands of loyal and dedicated associates — it’s your hard work and dedication that has helped set this company on a path to an even brighter future.
“I have tremendous confidence in Anthony and the rest of the leadership team, and know that I’m leaving Southeastern Grocers in good hands.”
McLeod, a native of Scotland, assumed the top job at Southeastern Grocers, then called Bi-Lo Holdings, in 2015. Before that, he was the head of Coles Supermarkets, the second-largest food and liquor retailer in Australia.
McLeod spent most of his career in England. He served as chief executive of the British retailer Halford Group and spent two decades with the Asda supermarket chain, where he was director of stores. McLeod also served on the board at Walmart Germany, and he has been involved in running professional soccer teams in England and Australia. McLeod completed a management program at Harvard Business School in 1999. He moved to Australia in 2008 to lead a turnaround at Coles.
Southeastern Grocers gave no timetable on the search for a permanent successor to McLeod, and expressed confidence in Hucker’s ability to ably serve in the interim. “As COO, Anthony has a strong familiarity with our business, our stakeholders, our challenges and opportunities, and the strategic direction of the company,” the company noted. “He brings extensive knowledge of the retail grocery sector, with more than 18 years of experience in leadership roles across our industry in the U.S.”