Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan will step down at the end of the year after guiding the New England grocery chain through an 11-day strike in April.
In a statement posted to the Stop & Shop website Monday, the chain’s parent company said McGowan “has made the decision to leave the organization. McGowan will remain with Stop & Shop through year-end, at the company’s request, to ensure a seamless transition.”
Jennifer Brogan, a Stop & Shop spokeswoman, said Wednesday in an e-mail that the April work stoppage did not factor into McGowan’s decision.
“Mark made the decision to leave after 30 years of serving the company. He has agreed to stay until year-end at the company’s request to ensure a seamless transition,” Brogan wrote.
McGowan said in Monday’s statement that it’s been “an honor and privilege” to lead the Quincy-based Stop & Shop chain.
“I’m grateful for our associates who are incredibly dedicated to serving our customers every day, and I’m extremely proud of all that we have accomplished together,” McGowan said. “As Stop & Shop embarks on the next phase of its transformation, now is the right time for me to make this change. I look forward to working closely with Gordon and the entire team to ensure a seamless transition.”
Kevin Holt, head of Ahold Delhaize USA, the parent company of Stop & Shop, lavished praised on McGowan in the statement.
“Mark McGowan has had a tremendous impact for the Ahold Delhaize USA brands, as well as the communities they serve, and we thank him for his 30 years of tireless service,” Holt said. “Under his leadership, Stop & Shop has built a strong foundation for transformation and expanded success that continues through our ‘Reimagine Stop & Shop’ initiative.”
The release said Gordon Reid, president of the Giant Food chain, another Ahold Delhaize USA holding, will begin the transition to Stop & Shop president in the coming weeks and officially assume the role in late July.
“As Mark transitions, I have full confidence that Gordon Reid is the right leader to continue this transformation by repositioning the business for future success and rebuilding customer loyalty,” Holt said.
Many customers were forced to shop elsewhere for 11 days in April, when more than 31,000 workers at 240 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut walked off the job in a dispute that focused mainly on rising health care costs and reductions to pension plans.
In the first few days of the strike, visits to the grocery chain by regular customers dropped 75 percent compared with the previous weekend, according to an analysis of mobile device data by Skyhook, a location technology and intelligence company in Boston.
Ahold Delhaize said in April that the walkout would cut operating profit by $90 million to $110 million in the second quarter. The losses were caused by lower sales, perishable inventory, and “additional supply chain expenses,” the company said in April.