Former Price Chopper CEO to retire as post-merger leader

The Market 32 on Route 50 in Saratoga Springs is shown in November 2019.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The Market 32 on Route 50 in Saratoga Springs is shown in November 2019.

SCHENECTADY — A leadership transition is coming at Northeast Grocery Inc., the parent company of the recently merged Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets supermarket chains.

Northeast announced Wednesday that CEO Scott Grimmett plans to retire.

Grimmett was CEO of Price Chopper/Market 32 for the last 10 years before the merger and became leader of the new entity after the merger.

He will be replaced as CEO of Northeast by Frank Curci, who was CEO of Tops Markets for the last 14 years before the merger. Northeast will remain headquartered in Schenectady, at the former Price Chopper/Market 32 HQ on Nott Street, and Curci will work from that location.

In a prepared statement, NGI Board co-Chairman Jerry Golub said:

“We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have Scott Grimmett lead us through the merger process and develop the strategies and plans to move the company forward. First at Price Chopper/Market 32 and most recently at NGI, Scott has shown exceptional leadership qualities and vision. We wish him the best as he retires.”

Northeast said Grimmett, a 48-year veteran of the retail grocery industry, had worked to ensure the success of the merger by putting the right people and processes in place and thought that now was the right time to step away.

He plans to retire in February, and spend more time with family in Arizona.

Northeast said Curci has built a record of success during his 40-year career, including leading Tops through a period of growth after the chain was separated from a Dutch-owned corporation.

The two supermarket chains had a number of similarities and synergies before they merged.

Price Chopper/Market 32 were founded 90 years ago by the Golub family, which retained ownership through the decades. Tops, based near Buffalo, traces its roots back 60 years but has had a succession of owners.

The two operated a combined network of nearly 300 stores but geographic overlap was sufficiently limited that federal regulators ordered the sale of just 12 stores, all Tops locations, as a condition of the merger.

Both Price Chopper/Market 32 also were pressured by a large number of retail and online competitors in a business with a low profit margin and high customer expectations. They felt the increased size of a merged entity would improve their leverage and build efficiency as they moved forward.

The rest of the top leadership at Northeast remains unchanged: Blaine Bringhurst serves as president of the Price Chopper/Market 32 business and John Persons as president of the Tops Markets business. Dave Langless, formerly the chief financial officer of Tops, serves as CFO of Northeast.

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