EAGLE'S PETITTI RETURNING AS PRESIDENT AND CEO

MILAN, Ill. -- Pasquale V. "Pat" Petitti, who retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Eagle Food Centers here two years ago, has returned to the company as president and CEO.He was also reappointed to the board of the 102-unit chain.Petitti succeeds Gerald E. Barber as an officer and a board member. Barber resigned for personal reasons.It was unclear whether Petitti was brought in in a

MILAN, Ill. -- Pasquale V. "Pat" Petitti, who retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Eagle Food Centers here two years ago, has returned to the company as president and CEO.

He was also reappointed to the board of the 102-unit chain.

Petitti succeeds Gerald E. Barber as an officer and a board member. Barber resigned for personal reasons.

It was unclear whether Petitti was brought in in a bid to bolster the company's financial performance. For the year ended Jan. 29, sales declined 1.8% and same-store sales dropped 5.3% .

"I'm here to try to do some things that I think need doing," Petitti told SN. "The challenges are the same basic ones everyone faces: sales and cost controls."

He declined to be more specific "until we really have a chance to do some planning.

"I've been away for two years, and there are a lot of new faces. And with some people on vacation, I haven't even met all the key folks yet."

Petitti has scheduled his first meeting with the board in mid-May "to review what we're doing in operations, marketing and the entire corporate structure." He doesn't contemplate any management changes at this time, "though it's hard to tell what the future may bring."

Contacted at his home in Bettendorf, Iowa, Barber told SN his

reasons for leaving involved "just some personal business opportunities." He declined further comment.

Barber joined Eagle in July 1990 as president. He was appointed a director in December 1991, and was named CEO when Petitti retired in May 1992.

Prior to joining Eagle, Barber spent four years with Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis, serving as vice president of marketing and operations. He had previously spent 13 years with Safeway in a number of divisions of the Oakland, Calif.-based chain.

Representatives of Odyssey Partners, the New York investment firm that acquired Eagle in 1987, couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Petitti, who is 64, spent 35 years with Eagle, and while he is not certain how long he will stay, "it won't be another 35 years, but there's no time schedule," he told SN.

When Odyssey acquired Eagle in 1987, Petitti signed a three-year employment contract. However, he opted to stay five years after the leveraged buyout.

Although he retired as a corporate officer in May 1992, Petitti remained on the board until last summer.