Exec Changes Business as Usual at The Pantry

Published in CSP Daily News

High-ranking departures continue at high-profile regional retailer

CARY, N.C. -- The resignation of Mark R. Bierley, the chief financial officer at The Pantry Inc., is the latest in a series of high-ranking executive departures that has beset the Southeast convenience retailer since the exit of longtime chairman and chief executive officer Pete Sodini.

Bierley--as reported Friday in a Morgan Keegan/CSP Daily News Flash--announced that he is leaving the company effective May 25 to accept an undisclosed position near his home in Michigan.

"Mark has made tremendous contributions as CFO of the company and will be missed; however, we understand his desire to return to his home and family in Michigan and wish him success in his new position," said Dennis G. Hatchell, The Pantry's CEO--who himself has only been at the helm of the company since early March. He succeeded interim chairman and CEO Ed Holman following the late August 2011 departure of Terry Marks (Holman remains as chairman).

Sodini, who announced his retirement almost exactly three years ago, in late April 2009, had led the company since February 1996. Marks, his successor, left the company for the Hooters themed restaurant chain.

Other departures included Dave Henninger, marketing vice president, who joined The Pantry in May 2010 shortly after longtime friend Marks, whom he followed to Hooters in March. And Brad Williams, senior vice president of operations, announced his departure from The Pantry in late May 2011. He joined the company in 1998. Williams has been senior vice president of store operations at Richmond, Va.-based Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores (MACS) since March of this year.

Bierley has been the CFO and senior vice president of The Pantry since late September 2010. He served as the chief operating officer at Borders Inc. and CFO and executive vice president of Borders Group Inc. from January 2009 to August 2010 and served as its principal accounting officer until August 2010 and also served as its treasurer. He was with Borders Group since 1996, serving in a variety of management positions. Prior to working with Borders, Bierley held positions in the financial departments for Dunham's Athleisure Corp. and Federal-Mogul Corp. Bierley started his career as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Detroit.

The timing of Bierley's resignation will allow him to continue to serve as CFO until after the filing of the company's quarterly report for the quarter ended March 29, 2012.

The Pantry said that it will begin a search for a new CFO promptly. Berry L. Epley, vice president and corporate controller, will assume Bierley's responsibilities until the company names a successor.

Bierley did not respond to a request for an interview. The company declined to offer further details concerning his departure and destination. A spokesperson for the company told CSP Daily News, "We are not scheduling interviews for Mark."

With headquarters in Cary, N.C., The Pantry is a leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States and one of the largest independently operated c-store chains in the country. As of Feb. 3, 2012, the company operated 1,618 stores in 13 states under select banners, including Kangaroo Express, its primary operating banner.