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Delhaize-owned Food Lion said yesterday that its president, Beth Newlands Campbell, is leaving the company "for personal and professional reasons." She will be succeeded by Meg Ham, who has been serving as president of Delhaize's Bottom Dollar Food chain.

Newlands Campbell is a 27-year veteran of the company, spending the bulk of it at Hannaford in New England, beginning as a management trainee and finishing up her career there as president. She moved to Food Lion as president less than two years ago, in December 2012.

Delhaize America also announced that Gene Faller, vice president of operations for Bottom Dollar Food, will assume leadership responsibilities for the banner.  JJ Fleeman, currently senior vice president of Food Lion Strategy, has been promoted to Delhaize America’s chief strategy and development officer.

In a farewell memo to Delhaize associates, Newlands Campbell said, in part, "We live in a world of continual transition. Over the course of years, different things pull at us, attract us, and feed our desire to explore.  Recently and for all the right reasons, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to some personal and professional change. It is an appropriate time for me to make a transition.

There are a few things of which I’m certain as I write this to you……..I’m certain that Food Lion is on a great trajectory. Thousands of us have come together to build and execute a strategy for Food Lion that genuinely delivers on what our customers and communities want and need. We have rallied around the great legacy upon which this company was founded. Together we’ve revitalized an image for our stores that is truly deserving of its customers, sales and success. Our store managers have risen to the challenge and delivered in a way that we should all be proud. We’ve earned back the reputation that we’ve desired for a long time. Our communities count on us through Food Lion Feeds. We count on each other. We care.

"I’m also certain that no one person is bigger than an organization. Leaders lead best when they lead with each other and share ideas and have each other’s backs. I’ve certainly found that to be the case here. No one of us is greater than all of us."
KC's View:
Most of the email I've read today, and the conversations I've had with people in the know, indicate that the dye was cast for Newlands Campbell's departure when she did not get the job as CEO of Delhaize America when it became available with the departure of Roland Smith in September 2013; Kevin Holt, former president of retail operations at Supervalu, was named CEO of Delhaize America in June 2014.

The shame of it is that most of the folks I talked to said that Newlands Campbell has done a good job at Food Lion, and they're sorry to see her go … similar sentiments to when Cathy Burns left the company in December 2012. I think it says something positive about the company that Cathy was with the company for close to 30 years, and Beth was there for 27. That's a long time … and I have to wonder if there is some sort of purge taking place. I hope not.

Food Lion has had more than its share of challenges in recent years, and I feel bad for the good folks who work there that they have to go through yet another executive change, though Ham is a known quantity, and she is charged essentially with keeping the Food Lion ship on course.