IBJNews

Marsh CEO Kelley quits for job in New England

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Marsh Supermarkets CEO Joe Kelley resigned Tuesday, and the Fishers-based chain launched a search for its third chief executive in a little more than a year.

Kelley, a veteran of New York-based Price Chopper Supermarkets who took the helm at Marsh in May 2011, left to become president of the New England division of Stop & Shop, a 375-store grocery chain owned by Dutch food giant Ahold.

Marsh named Chief Operating Officer Bill Holsworth, who joined the company in 2006, as its interim CEO.

Florida-based Sun Capital Partners, which owns Marsh, has launched a national search to select a new leader for the chain of 70 Marsh stores and 26 MainStreet Markets in Indiana and Ohio, the statement said.

Marsh has struggled to restore market share it has lost over the years to its primary rival, Kroger Co., along with newer grocery offerings from the likes of Walmart, Meijer and Target. At last check, Kroger had local market share of 27.5 percent, compared to Marsh's 16.5-percent share.

Sun, which acquired the floundering supermarket chain in 2006, tried to sell it a few years ago but couldn't find a buyer. That's when it brought in Kelley, who told IBJ for a September 2011 story that turning around Marsh was a three- to six-year project.

Kelley launched a new competitive pricing strategy and plotted a revamp of the chain's Fresh Idea loyalty program. He vowed to spend $60 million over three years to build up to 10 new stores and remodel several more. He also hired another former Price Chopper exec, David Siegel, in the newly created position of senior vice president of merchandising and marketing strategic initiatives.

In January, Kelley joined Mayor Greg Ballard to announce the chain's plans to build the first new Marsh store since 2004, as the anchor of an $85 million mixed-use development bounded by Michigan Street, Capitol Avenue, Vermont Street and Indiana Avenue.

It appears the company still plans to build the downtown store. Holsworth, the interim CEO, in the statement said he looks forward to implenting "very strong growth plans for the future, including a new state-of-the-art store we are building in downtown Indianapolis."

Holsworth previously held CEO positions with Lowe’s Food Stores in North Carolina, Finast Supermarket ST in Ohio, and S&H Green Stamps in New York City.

Kelley replaced Frank Lazaran, who left Marsh in April 2011 after a five-year stint as CEO.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Good Ridance
    I left the Meat department and, ultimately the state of Indiana because I had no faith or hope that it could rebound to what it once was.
    It makes me sad that they had a great, loyal customer base which as a manager and employee, loved like a second family. But the company was going down the tubes, so to speak, ever since sun capital took it over.
    Morale is low for several reasons:
    -Every experienced employee was either forced out or, demoted to save on overhead.
    -New programs within the Meat Dept. that constantly shot the department in the foot everyday it opened.
    -Slashing of benefits
    -Keeping employees indefinitely as "part time" to deny any benefits
    In my personal experience, I was scheduled to receive vacation pay, which I accrued over the years and they refused to pay it. So I gave them the "take this job an shove it" approach and haven't looked back since.
    Many people commenting mention the customer service as the main reason but when you treat your employees as thieves (while it is management who is really robbing the employees) how do you expect people to get excited to go to work in the morning??? What is there to look forward to?
    I will miss the co-workers who I've shared a decent amount of time with but Marsh is not Marsh anymore.
  • good
    Mash will miss kelley's talent. Great guy well respected. Very much a people person and great leader. S&S will gain by this move.
  • Private Capital at Work
    This is how private capital works.

    -Acquire a business with minimal cash.
    -Leverage all of its property with as much debt as possible.
    -Keep the cash, which is many multiples of your original investment.
    -Cut wages, people and investment in the company by hiring outside management whose only incentive is to cash out.
    -String out your vendors.
    -Struggle along with a huge debt load until you sell the company to the next pumper and dumper or declare bankruptcy.

    For further details, see Romney, Mitt.
  • Sad
    Sad that this company's management cannot recognize that the in-store managers need to be held accountable. Agree that moral in stores is low. Customer service is about all Marsh has left to offer and even that is lagging due to poor store management. Meat dept. is going down hill fast.
  • Loyalty
    Kris, loyalty to the company for the you work for must be at a all time low as well. Looking from the bottom up is always an easy way to call it from the cheap seats. I am sure you are a motivating force to those you manage.
  • PC
    Anyone form PC corporate would be toxic to any other company.... I worked for them and EPIC FAIL is too good a phrase to use when it comes to the leaders of that company.
  • Agreed
    I am in retail management at Marsh and this is great news. Morale is at an all-time low and the corporate office is totally inept. All Kelley did was hire his Price Chopper cronies. Unfortunately the good ol' boy system is still too much in place for any real changes to be accomplished.
    • HEB
      I wish H-E-B bought Marsh instead. Low prices and none of that nonsense Fresh Idea card crap. They could have gone places!
    • Bring Don Back
      Why don't they try bringing Don Marsh back as CEO? He built the chain and is probably bored to tears right about now.
    • Marsh Needs CEO!!
      Bill, greetings from Indianapolis. I hope all is well. I'm sending this story about Marsh so you are up to speed on the latest and greatest. You need to be their CEO. Let me know how I can help!

      Jack
    • YOU ARE FIRED!
      After being a vendor to Marsh for over 15 years, we "fired" them as a customer last month because they were way beyond "slow pay" and their facilities management department is the worst we have ever dealt with (calling them "inept" would be a kindness.

      I like shopping there however, because most of the stores are empty and there are no lines. Something is up! I can't believe they are still in business.
      • PE
        Working for a private equity firm stinks.
        All they care about is $ now.
        • Revolving Door at Marsh
          Let's go Krogering, Krogering, Krogering. Let's go Krogering - the better way to shop!!

        Post a comment to this story

        COMMENTS POLICY
        We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
         
        You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
         
        Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
         
        No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
         
        We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
         

        Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

        Sponsored by
        ADVERTISEMENT

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
         
        Subscribe to IBJ
        1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

        2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

        3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

        4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

        5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

        ADVERTISEMENT