Felicia Thornton, the industry veteran who presided over Demoulas Super Markets while the chain was in the midst of a worker walkout last year, has been appointed CFO and treasurer of 99 Cents Only Stores, the City of Commerce, Calif., discounter said Monday.
Thornton will be responsible for overseeing finance, accounting, treasury, risk management, legal and IT functions for the company. Her appointment is part of a broader operating advisor agreement with Ares Management, the company's majority shareholder. Interim CFO Michael Fung will continue in his position as a member of the company's board of directors and will return to his position as head of the board's audit committee.
Thornton has extensive executive experience in retail, and particularly in the grocery store industry, having served in senior leadership positions at Demoulas, Albertsons and Kroger. At Demoulas, she was appointed Co-CEO, president and COO of Market Basket, and served until the chain was acquired by her predecessor, Arthur T. Demoulas. Her tenure coincided with a six-week worker walkout sparked by employees unhappy with Demoulas' firing.
Prior to that, Thornton was CEO of Knowledge Universe U.S., one of the largest private childhood education companies. At Albertsons, she served as CFO and led overall strategy for the company for more than five years. For eight years prior to that, Thornton served in a variety of executive strategic and financial roles at Ralphs and Fred Meyer, both of which eventually became part of Kroger, where she continued as group VP responsible for retail operations.
"We are thrilled to welcome Felicia to our team at 99 Cents Only Stores, where we believe her strategic financial experience and proven track record of leading finance functions during transformational change at large, multi-site retail organizations will be valuable to us as we work to continue to grow the company," said Geoff Covert, president and CEO of 99 Cents Only.
"I have been impressed by 99 Cents Only's commitment to delivering value to their customers and appreciate the opportunity to join this organization and find new ways to enhance value for all stakeholders," Thornton said. "I am committed to supporting the team in driving stronger financial performance as we continue to build 99 Cents Only into a leader in the extreme value sector."
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