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Big changes at Kmart

TROY, MI — Kmart Corp. has announced several executive appointments, including the promotion of Ron Lalla to the position of senior vice president, global operations, effective immediately. He will replace Tony Vaal, who will retire April 30.

Reporting to Cecil Kearse, executive vice president, merchandising, Lalla will be responsible for Kmart's Far East operations, global sourcing and quality assurance areas of the company.

Lalla joined Kmart in 1994 and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career, most recently as vice president, business development.

"Ron Lalla's two decades of strong financial and merchandising experience in both the United States and Canada have positioned him well to lead our efforts in reducing our overseas production and distribution cycle times, improving the quality of our globally manufactured product, building stronger vendor relations and capitalizing on new market and global opportunities within the international components of our supply chain," said Kearse.

Regarding Vaal, Kearse said, "Tony has been a valued member of the Kmart team for 34 years and has helped ensure that Kmart has maintained its leadership in global sourcing, quality assurance and retailing. We thank him and wish he and his family a long, wonderful and healthy retirement."

As a result of Lalla's promotion, Chris Cielak has been named vice president, store operations administration, from her position of operations vice president, systems implementation. In her new position, she will be responsible for all store administrative functions, including communications, payroll and expense control, best practices, systems and training, and corporate facilities management. A 30-year Kmart veteran, Cielak has progressed through the ranks of store and regional positions and has held positions in store system development/procedures and store operations.

In addition, Charley Thompson has been promoted to division vice president, global sourcing, reporting to Lalla. An 18-year Kmart veteran, Thompson has held positions in the merchandising organization as a buyer and director of product development. As director of softlines, sourcing, he spent three years in Hong Kong. He also has served as director of human resources and director of project management, both in support of the merchandising group.

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