Cary-based convenience store chain The Pantry announced this morning that it has named Dennis G. Hatchell to be its new president and CEO effective March 5.
Hatchell was previously vice chairman of Alex Lee, a holding company for Lowe's Food Stores, Merchants Distributors and Institution Food House.
He will take over from Edwin Holman, who has been the interim CEO since Terrance Marks resigned in October to become the CEO of the Hooters restaurant chain.
Holman will remain chairman of the board. Hatchell also joins the board.
"Dennis is a proven leader who possesses a unique blend of merchandising and operating experience," said Wilfred Finnegan, a Pantry lead director. "We believe his successful track record in the food distribution and retail grocery business where he served in various principal positions for thirty three years, make him ideally suited to lead the company, as it continues to grow and succeed in the highly competitive convenience store market sector."
The Pantry has more than 1,600 stores throughout the Southeast, primarily under the Kangaroo Express brand. Merchandise sales at those stores increased 2 percent in the first quarter.
The company reported a narrower net loss of $2.9 million in the first quarter last week, compared to a loss of $12.2 million in the first quarter of 2011.
The Pantry has been working to readjust its pricing strategy, particularly for gasoline and cigarettes, after losing market share to competitors in recent quarters.
The company has also been remodeling a number of its stores and upgrading its food and beverage offerings while also selling off poorly performing stores.