BAIRD LEAVES GROWTH LEGACY AT GIANT

LANDOVER, Md. -- Richard A. Baird, president and chief executive officer, Giant Food here, said the chain he leaves behind when he retires in July has been primed for continued growth.that will be able to continue under the leadership of Stop & Shop."One of the things I'm proud of is the sales growth that Giant has experienced since being acquired by Ahold in October 1998," he said. "The sales growth

LANDOVER, Md. -- Richard A. Baird, president and chief executive officer, Giant Food here, said the chain he leaves behind when he retires in July has been primed for continued growth.

that will be able to continue under the leadership of Stop & Shop.

"One of the things I'm proud of is the sales growth that Giant has experienced since being acquired by Ahold in October 1998," he said. "The sales growth from acquisition to the end of last year is more than 25%. I'm also proud of the rebuilt real-estate organization. That has really gotten to the point where we are geared to grow through new-store construction and remodeling."

He also said he has helped change the management philosophy of the chain from being a "very strong top-down organization to one built on much broader involvement at deeper management levels in decision-making and accountability."

"It's something I've worked on quite diligently: to broaden the development of people, and involve more people in the decision-making process," he said.

After more than three decades in the supermarket industry, however, Baird said he's looking forward to spending time with his family once he retires.

"The first thing I want to do is get reacquainted with Kate, my wife," he said. "I will take the rest of this year and focus on the times we've lost, and then at the end of the year see if I want to do anything beyond that."