Frank Lazaran, chairman, president and CEO of Marsh, plans to step down at the end of the month for family-related reasons, the company said last week.
“Frank told employees that since the passing of his father this past summer he has realized a need to return to southern California in order to spend more time tending to family matters,” Marsh said in a prepared statement.
Marsh declined to comment on the report of Kelley's hiring. In a prepared statement, the chain said its parent company, Sun Capital Partners, had concluded an executive search and hired a successor to Lazaran, and was planning to announce the new CEO in May. Sun Capital did not return phone calls seeking comment last week.
Lazaran had joined Marsh in 2006 with the company's acquisition by Sun Capital Partners, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based private equity firm. He previously had been CEO of Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla., and before that with Safeway's Randalls division in Texas and with Kroger's Ralphs division in California.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star last week, Lazaran said the company has turned around its financial fortunes under his watch.
“We've taken a company that was struggling to survive to a company that is successful, on solid financial footing and on a growth strategy,” he told the newspaper, which broke the news of his departure last week.
He also said the company had trimmed its $325 million in debt when he took over to about $50 million today. In addition, he told the paper that the chain was not currently for sale. Marsh in 2009 was reported to have been for sale, then reportedly was taken off the block last year, and has since been said to have been seeking a buyer again.
Kelley, Lazaran's reported successor, most recently was executive vice president at Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y. He previously had been vice president of merchandising, and before that he was vice president of perishables merchandising.