Giant Eagle Marks New Era With Executive Leadership Appointments Laura Shapira Karet named new CEO;

John Lucot becomes President and COO;

David Shapira assumes position of Executive Chairman of the Giant Eagle Board of Directors

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Multi-format food and fuel retailer Giant Eagle, Inc. today announced that its Board of Directors has named Laura Shapira Karet to serve as the company's Chief Executive Officer, and John Lucot to serve as the company's President and Chief Operating Officer, effective January 9, 2012.

Karet, 42, will succeed her father David Shapira, who will assume the position of Executive Chairman of Giant Eagle's Board of Directors.  Shapira has served the privately-held, family-owned company for 41 of its 80 year-history, and has been in the role of CEO since 1980.

Shapira said that the Giant Eagle board unanimously approved Karet's and Lucot's new roles based on their track record of leadership and innovation, as well as their strong executive and personal qualities.

"Laura has an extensive background in food retailing and manufacturing, both within and outside of Giant Eagle," said Shapira.  "Her amiable and open style has won the respect of our 36,000 Team Members, customers, suppliers and business partners."

"Our company's success is made possible by the commitment to our founding principles, and the continued dedication of 36,000 Team Members who deliver the Giant Eagle experience to customers each day," said Karet.  "I hope to emulate the type of leader that my father has been for our company, while continuing to cultivate a dedication to high quality foods, great customer service and investing in the communities we serve."

Shapira also commented on Lucot's promotion to President.  "John has been an integral part of our Company's success for decades.  His exhaustive understanding of how the business functions at all levels has been invaluable to the organization and will continue to serve Giant Eagle well in his new capacity."

Laura S. Karet
Prior to joining Giant Eagle, Karet held marketing executive positions at Sara Lee from 1997 to 2000, including Director of Branded Marketing for the bakery division.  Karet also served in several brand management roles at Procter and Gamble from 1990 to 1997 for household name products such as Crisco shortening, Folgers Coffee, Giorgio Beverly Hills fragrances and Secret antiperspirant.

Karet joined Giant Eagle in 2000 as Vice President of Marketing. Karet most recently served as Giant Eagle Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, responsible for the development and management of Giant Eagle's long-term business plan and setting direction for its corporate priorities and innovations.  For her efforts, Karet was honored as one of Progressive Grocer magazine's 2010 Top Women in Grocery.

John Lucot
Lucot, 54, comes into his new role having started his career in 1974 as a Giant Eagle supermarket clerk. His tenure has included executive positions in Distribution, Retail Development, Real Estate and Operations. Currently serving as the Company's Chief Operating Officer, Lucot has been instrumental in the development of Giant Eagle's GetGo, Real Estate and Independent Operations businesses, while investing hundreds of millions of dollars in capital reimbursement to ensure that the company's stores deliver a world class shopping experience.

During the past decade, with Karet and Lucot as members of the Senior Leadership team, Giant Eagle has experienced significant growth, entering new markets such as Frederick, Md. and Toledo, Oh., continuing its expansion in Columbus, Oh., and launching new banners including GetGo, Giant Eagle Express, Valu King and Market District.  Additionally, during this time, Giant Eagle launched its fuelperks! customer loyalty initiative, an industry-best fuel rewards program, and has enhanced its Own Brands program, which now includes more than 12,000 products equal to or better than the national brand counterparts. More recently, Giant Eagle has taken great strides in its evolution of digital media, led by the development of mobile applications as well as the eOffers digital coupon program. All of these efforts have contributed to Giant Eagle being the destination of choice for four million households, as well as the company annually being ranked in the top 50 on the Forbes Magazine list of largest privately held U.S. companies.

About Giant Eagle

Giant Eagle Inc., ranked 29 on Forbes magazine's largest private corporations list and recipient of Grocery Headquarters' 2007 Retailer of the Year Award and the EPA's ENERGY STAR Retail Partner of the Year Award, is one of the nation's largest food retailers and food distributors with approximately $9.3 billion in annual sales.  Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 170 corporate and 58 independently owned and operated supermarkets in addition to 166 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland. 

GIANT EAGLE HISTORICAL TIMELINE

It all began in 1931 when five families—each still actively involved in the company — combined to form Giant Eagle. In the 1930s, the era of the Great Depression, the store remained strong, giving customers quality products at good prices. In the 1940s, as able-bodied men joined the war effort, women employees became a permanent part of the working society—and the Giant Eagle team.

During the 1950s and 60s, the average size of Giant Eagle stores grew to 15,000 square feet and were designed to offer more products and variety. Giant Eagle again kept up with the times, introducing overall price lowering along with store remodeling.  When the company opened its first 20,000-square-foot supermarket just south of Pittsburgh, it heralded a new era of variety and value.

To help customers with inflation-related issues of the 1970s, Giant Eagle introduced lower-priced private label products.  This decade also saw Giant Eagle open its doors on Sundays, and introduce open-code dating, allowing customers to determine products' freshness.

In the 1980s, Giant Eagle celebrated its 50th birthday—with 52 stores, including its first 50,000-square-foot location.  In an ongoing effort to offer more services to Giant Eagle's loyal customers, some stores included on-site bakeries, pharmacies, florists, automotive and houseware departments, paperback books and greeting cards, photo processing, and video rentals.

During the 1990s, Giant Eagle became the market leader in Western Pennsylvania,

Northeastern Ohio, and Northern West Virginia.  The Giant Eagle Advantage Card®, introduced in 1994, became the area's first frequent shopper card.  At the same time, the Eagle's Nest, an in-store supervised learning and activity center staffed with trained childcare workers, was opened.

As the 1990s drew to a close, Giant Eagle acquired Cleveland's Riser Foods, adding 53 stores to the company.  After the turn of the century, Giant Eagle expanded its presence in Ohio with store openings in Columbus and Toledo.  In addition to moving into Maryland, Giant Eagle also launched four new store concepts customized to meet specialized customer needs.  The newest banners include GetGo and Giant Eagle Express, focused on fuel and convenience, Market District, offering a true food destination, and Valu King, delivering outrageously low prices in a value-oriented setting.  

What began as a dream is now a company with approximately 36,000 Team Members working in 395 stores throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland.  Today, newly built Giant Eagle supermarkets average approximately 90,000 square feet in size, offering a state of the art world class shopping experience to customers.  The company is known for its high quality foods, great customer service and strong overall value in the form of low everyday prices, attractive weekly specials and customer loyalty programs led by fuelperks! and foodperks!.

SOURCE Giant Eagle, Inc.




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