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Services set for former A&P CEO Wood

Services are scheduled this week in Ridgewood, N.J., for James Wood, a former CEO and chairman of A&P. Wood passed away March 26 at age 85 after a long illness.

Wood served as A&P’s CEO from 1980 to 1998 and its chairman from 1980 to 2001. His tenure was marked by a massive program of reorganization that helped to save the chain from financial ruin in the early 1980s, followed by an acquisition spree that brought the Farmer Jack, Kohl’s, Food Emporium and Waldbaums brands to the Montvale, N.J.-based retailer.

Wood also introduced the SuperFresh banner in 1982 as a means of recrafting labor contracts allowing for workers to share profits when stores met their financial targets.

Upon leaving his role of chairman of the parent company of Grand Union to take the top job at A&P in 1980, Wood told SN, “I couldn’t resist the challenge.”

Wood was born in England and grew up in the food business with the British retailer Cavenham, which dispatched him to the U.S. to run its Grand Union chain. He succeeded Jonathan Scott as A&P’s CEO shortly after the Tengelmann Group acquired a majority stake in the company from descendants of A&P’s founding family. He became co-CEO with Tengelmann scion Christian Haub in 1998 and retired a year later.

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