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D&W Food Centers president Doug Blease has added the title of CEO to his job description, succeeding Jeff Gietzen in this position.

Gietzen remains with the company as vice chairman. He told MNB that the shift in responsibilities was "consistent with the plan" that has been in place for the past few years. Gietzen also takes on additional responsibilities for a number of other family businesses.

"There comes a time when a team needs to change its quarterback," Gietzen told MNB. "Our industry requires now, more than ever, a full time focus and high intensity. We, like everybody, have been working hard to compete on many fronts as the West Michigan retail food landscape changes in a way that is not that different than what we all see around the country."

Gietzen noted that the changes taking place at D&W include cost reductions, elimination of some positions, and new marketing programs.
KC's View:
D&W competes in one of the toughest, most cutthroat markets in the country. That said, we have to say that we're rooting for the folks there - they have strong stores, good people, always have been willing to innovate, and hopefully will be able to weather the storms. Gietzen specifically is one of the industry's class acts, and we wish him the best.