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Continuing the overhaul of its executive suite, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) announced that it has hired Frederic F. (“Jake”) Brace to the new position of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), effective immediately. In this role, Mr. Brace will oversee A&P’s Finance and Accounting, Real Estate and Information Systems departments, reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Martin.

Brace’s background is in the airline industry - during a 20-year career at United Airlines, A&P said, he held a variety of executive management positions, most recently as United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2002 until his retirement in 2008. Before that he held a number of financial management positions with American Airlines.

In a prepared statement, CEO Sam Martin said, “Over the last year, Jake Brace has provided critical insight to the Company on a range of important issues as a member of our Board of Directors. I am pleased that he has agreed to join A&P’s executive management team and am confident that his strategic and financial expertise and successful turnaround experience will be extremely valuable as we take the steps necessary to position the Company for a strong future.”
KC's View:
My knee-jerk skepticism about almost everything that A&P does was about to kick in, especially because Brace has no retail experience.

But then I took a deep breath, because that’s probably not fair. A&P is bringing in new blood, and some of these guys are going to look at its business with fresh and presumably unjaundiced eyes. So maybe that’s a good thing.

Whether A&P has any sort of future is still highly problematic, and I’m not convinced that the board of directors will give these execs room to maneuver ... and I’m pretty sure that they were almost out of time even before they started.

But I’m trying not to be knee-jerk about this.