CEO LEAVING FURRS TO DIRECT RETAIL AT FLEMING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Furrs Supermarkets here said last week Tom Dahlen will resign Friday as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the 71-store company, which has been operating under Chapter 11 since Feb. 8 -- leaving the company in the hands of a management team that formerly worked together at Ralphs Grocery Co. in Southern California.Dahlen is leaving Furrs to become executive vice

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Furrs Supermarkets here said last week Tom Dahlen will resign Friday as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the 71-store company, which has been operating under Chapter 11 since Feb. 8 -- leaving the company in the hands of a management team that formerly worked together at Ralphs Grocery Co. in Southern California.

Dahlen is leaving Furrs to become executive vice president and president, retail and corporate marketing, a new position, at Fleming, Dallas. He joined Furrs in September 1999 as president and chief operating officer and was named chairman last April.

Furrs said Dahlen has agreed to provide services to the company on an as-needed basis for a six-week period following his formal resignation on Friday.

The new management team at Furrs will include:

George Golleher as chairman. Golleher, who has been a Furrs director since last April, will also provide consulting and advisory services. He was formerly president and chief executive officer of Ralphs prior to its merger with Fred Meyer, Inc., Portland, Ore., in 1998 and subsequently held the titles of president and chief operating officer of Fred Meyer before its 1999 merger with Kroger Co., Cincinnati.

Steven Mortensen as president and chief operating officer. Mortensen joined Furrs in January 2000 as chief financial officer after serving as vicepresident, finance, and controller of Ralphs, and in similar positions at Food 4 Less Supermarkets, Ralphs' sister company.

Greg Mays as vice chairman. Mays was formerly executive vice president at Ralphs.

Dahlen said last week he was disappointed "not to be able to complete the work we started [at Furrs], but I have every confidence in Steven Mortensen and the rest of our management team, and I am confident the able guidance of George Golleher and Greg Mays will be a tremendous asset to the management team in achieving their objectives."

Trade sources said Dahlen become disenchanted with Furrs after one of its investors reportedly reneged on a promise to provide funds to upgrade the store base. That situation resulted in a financial crunch that led the company to file for Chapter 11 protection early in February.

Dahlen declined to comment on the reports.

Since the filing, Furrs has hired investment banking firm Peter J. Solomon Co., New York, to explore its options. Dahlen told SN last week a report on those options should be available "shortly."

Mortensen could not be reached for comment last week.

Speaking on behalf of Furrs' directors, Gary Swenson, a board member, said Mortensen's expertise in the grocery business, "combined with his financial acumen and knowledge of our company, should be extremely valuable during this crucial period."

Dahlen's position at Fleming is a new one. Retail stores had previously been under the supervision of Dennis Lucas, whose title is executive vice president, retail.

Fleming said Lucas will retain that title and will report to Dahlen.

According to Mark Hansen, Fleming chairman and CEO, "Tom has demonstrated expertise in successfully introducing new shopping innovations and growing a price-impact retail chain. He led much of the explosive growth of Food 4 Less in Southern California during the mid-1990s and is an enthusiastic champion of the price-impact format. His retail and strategic skills will prove valuable to Fleming as we expand our price-impact retail concepts."

Prior to joining Furrs, Dahlen spent seven years with Ralphs in a variety of posts involving sales and marketing, advertising, procurement, retail merchandising and store operations. His tenure there involved both conventional Ralphs stores and Food 4 Less units.

When he left to join Furrs, he was executive vice president, sales and marketing, for Ralphs.

As a result of its merger with Ralphs, Kroger is licensed to operate Food 4 Less stores in southern and central California and parts of the Midwest, while Fleming has the license for the format in northern California, Arizona and Utah.