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Podany exits ShopKo; Girard takes the reins as interim ceo

Green Bay, WI — ShopKo Stores Inc. announced this morning that Bill Podany has resigned as president, ceo and director, for personal reasons. Stepping in as interim ceo is board member Jeffrey Girard, who also has accepted the permanent position of vice chairman, finance and administration. Chairman Jack Eugster said the board will launch the search for a new chief executive as soon as possible.

"Over the last seven-and-a-half years Bill Podany has provided solid merchandising leadership to the ShopKo organization. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him well in his new pursuits," said Eugster.

Eugster also contended that the company's three key goals — reducing debt, improving return on assets and establishing a profitable model at 225-unit Pamida — "are beginning to take hold, evidenced by the $203 million of debt reduction realized in fiscal 2001. The board believes this is an appropriate time to seek the leadership ShopKo will need to pursue its next stage of growth."

Girard has been a director of the company since October 1991 and was senior vp, executive vp and cfo at Minneapolis-based Supervalu Inc., a grocery retailer and food distributor, from 1990 to 1997. From 1973 to 1990, Girard held several management positions at New Jersey-based Supermarkets General Corp., an operator of supermarkets, freestanding drug stores, department and junior department stores and do-it-yourself home centers.

Podany became ShopKo's fourth president and ceo in January 1999 after five years overseeing the company's merchandising, marketing, logistics and store planning. He was responsible for helping to craft and implement ShopKo's Vision 2000 repositioning strategy.

Once at the helm of ShopKo, Podany moved quickly to take advantage of the booming retail environment, creating a merchandising plan called Beyond 2000, acquiring the Pamida chain and inaugurating a store opening campaign that took the ShopKo chain from 317 stores to 366 stores in 23 states.

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