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The new CEO promises to "elevate every aspect" of the specialty grocery chain.

Fresh Market names Appel new CEO

Former Home Depot, Winn-Dixie executive pledges to “reenergize” specialty retailer

The Fresh Market on Monday announced the appointment of Larry Appel as its new president and CEO.

Appel, who has more than 30 years of experience in the food and retail fields, succeeds Brian Nicholson, who has been serving as interim CEO since Rick Anicetti resigned in July. Nicholson, who is also Fresh Market’s CFO, will remain in that role.

Appel (left) joins The Fresh Market while the retailer is in the midst of a transformation effort begun by Anicetti last year to enhance the chain’s value proposition and assortment by lowering pricing and adding more “mainstream” products to its specialty and gourmet offerings.

It was not immediately clear how this effort – which was expected to be rolled out in waves through 2018 — would change under Appel, but in a statement he emphasized Fresh Market’s specialty roots. A spokeswoman told SN Monday he was not immediately available for further comment.

“I am committed to reenergizing all that sets The Fresh Market apart as a great brand and retail store,” said Mr. Appel. “Its heritage and history provide a strong platform in continuing to define the company as a unique ‘specialty’ grocer, offering best-in-class products and customer service. I plan to work with our teams to further elevate every aspect of our business — all with a sharp focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience every day in every store.”

From 2002 to 2012, Appel served at Winn-Dixie Stores in a variety of senior leadership roles including COO, chief human resources officer, head of strategy and chief legal officer. After leaving Winn-Dixie, Appel served as CEO of Skeeter Snacks, a leading producer of wholesome snacks made in a dedicated nut-free facility. From 1997 to 2002, Appel was SVP of legal at The Home Depot. Appel received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

“Following an extensive search and review of both internal and external candidates, the Board believes that Larry is the best leader for The Fresh Market going forward. We look forward to partnering with Larry and are confident in his ability to lead operationally and to execute strategies to ‘win’ with our customers,” Andrew Jhawar, senior partner at Fresh Market owner Apollo Global Management and chairman of the board at The Fresh Market, said in a statement. “We are grateful to Brian Nicholson for his efforts in improving operations during this transition period, and we value his work in the critical role of CFO as we implement our strategy under Larry’s new leadership.”

The Fresh Market, based in Greensboro, N.C., operates 176 stores in 24 states.

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