Amid an accounting scandal the nature of which has yet to be made public, Dollar General Corp. (DG) has replaced its president of 17 months with a Sears Roebuck veteran who most recently was chief executive of bankrupt furniture retailer Heilig-Meyers Co. (HMYRQ.OB).
Bob Carpenter, a 20-year employee of Dollar General, was named president and chief operating officer in January 2000. A release from the Goodlettsville-based retailer said that the retirement of Mr. Carpenter, 53, had "been planned for nearly two years."
In a February 26 conference call with analysts, Cal Turner Jr., chairman and chief executive, said as much: "Beginning in mid-2000, I pursued my primary responsibility, as CEO, for the company's future by giving priority to the recruitment of a new president/COO in response to Bob Carpenter's planned early retirement in June 2001."
Mr. Carpenter has been replaced as president and chief operating officer by Donald S. Shaffer, 58. Mr. Shaffer was brought in to troubled Heilig-Meyers as president and chief operating officer in April 1999. He was named president and chief executive of the Richmond,Va.-based company last July. In that period, Heilig-Meyers sold its Mattress Discounters Corp. and Rhodes Corp. units, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and has announced the closing of its more than 475 Heilig-Meyers furniture stores. The company said last month that it intends to emerge from bankruptcy strictly as an operator of the RoomStore concept.
"During his service [at Heilig-Meyers], he changed inventory management, improved credit controls and upgraded stores in growth markets," Dollar General said in its release.
Before his work at Heilig-Meyers, Mr. Shaffer was with Sears for 30 years. He was president and chief executive of Sears Canada and chairman and chief executive of Western Auto Supply Co.
Turnover in the top ranks of Dollar General has become a trademark of the management of Mr. Turner. "The assumption by Don of his new role will enable me to increase my focus on our future prospects, and to more fully engage my responsibilities as chairman and chief executive officer in the years ahead," Mr. Turner said in the release.
In February, Dollar General announced that Brian Burr was out as chief financial officer, replaced by Central Parking Corp.'s James Hagan.
In 1997, Bruce Krysiak resigned as president. Two years earlier, Kent Garner left as chief financial officer.
Two weeks ago, Dollar General disclosed that accounting irregularities, some possibly involving fraudulent behavior, would cause the retailer to lower earnings for the three-year period ending with fiscal 2000. Since then, the company has not disclosed any further details about the irregularities.
Dollar General shares slumped well off their 52-week high of $24.05 on news of the possible fraud. On Monday, they settled at $17.30.
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