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In a memo to company employees yesterday, Lunds & Byerlys president-CEO Tres Lund announced that COO Phil Lombardo will retire on January 6.

An excerpt from the memo:

"Inspirational leaders radiate authenticity and encourage collaboration. They embrace risk to drive innovation and growth. And they influence and inspire others to grow personally and professionally.

"All of this and more encapsulates the inspirational leadership Phil Lombardo, our Chief Operating Officer, has provided to Lunds & Byerlys for more than 20 years. Now he will be moving into the next chapter of his life when he retires on January 6.

"Phil joined us in 2002 as Director of Grocery. Throughout his career, which includes advancements to Vice President of Merchandising, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Chief Marketing & Merchandising Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Phil has demonstrated remarkable leadership because of his sharp strategic thinking and strong business acumen. He is a decisive leader who has always had a common thread of humbleness and inclusivity …  Phil’s career has been extraordinary and inspiring. His leadership has helped place us on a path in which we are further differentiated from our competition and poised for continued growth."

KC's View:

I don't usually give retirement announcements this kind of visibility, but I'm making an exception here because I've gotten to know Phil a little bit over the past decade, and have enormous respect for his skills and insight - it seems to me that he knows all the right questions to ask about where the business (and the industry at large) is going, and more often than not as a strong sense of what the answers are.  And, if he doesn't know the answers, he is enormously collaborative in figuring out where and how to find them.

I tease Phil that he's too young to retire, but that probably is projection on my part.  I just hope that at some point down the road, we're able to enjoy a Cactus League game together, along with a beer.