- Supermarket chain Giant Eagle, the parent company of c-store retailer GetGo Café + Market, has parted ways with its chief executive officer, Laura Shapira Karet, according to a statement Karet issued Tuesday.
- Bill Artman, a longtime Giant Eagle official who has held the role of president of supermarkets since 2021, is now serving as interim CEO, the grocer’s website indicates.
- Karet’s departure from Giant Eagle marks the end of her family’s participation in the top leadership of a company it co-founded more than 90 years ago.
Giant Eagle opted to remove Karet from her role “pursuant to her contract,” but did not provide an explanation for its decision, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday, citing a statement from the company. The grocer did not respond to a request from sister publication Grocery Dive for a copy of the statement by press time.
In a statement distributed yesterday evening by the law firm of Latham & Watkins, Karet said she made the decision “to move on to the next chapter of my life and leave Giant Eagle,” adding that she “will be taking some much-needed time with my family.”
Karet became CEO of Giant Eagle in January 2012, replacing her father, David Shapira, in the top job. The privately owned company has noted that Karet is a fourth-generation member of one of the five families that founded it in 1931, pointing out that representatives of each of those families had been part of the company throughout its history.
Giant Eagle runs more than 410 retail sites, including over 270 GetGo convenience stores, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana, and has more than 32,000 employees, according to the company’s website.
Prior to becoming CEO, Karet served as Giant Eagle’s senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer. Praised for her willingness to embrace change as leader of Giant Eagle, Karet worked at Sara Lee and Procter & Gamble before joining the grocery chain as president of new ventures and formats and chief strategy officer in May 2000, according to her LinkedIn profile.
“My tenure at Giant Eagle has been incredibly rewarding, and I have been privileged to guide the organization through intricate challenges and unprecedented achievements,” Karet said in her statement. “I am immensely proud of my colleagues and our collective efforts, which, thanks to our talent and tenacity, have allowed Giant Eagle to not only persevere but also flourish in recent years.”
Earlier this month, Karet told a Pittsburgh business group that she was optimistic about Giant Eagle’s prospects, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported. "We're pretty convinced we have a unique model that will allow us to compete in this hard changing world against people who are much bigger than us," she said, according to the publication.
Artman has worked for Giant Eagle for almost 40 years, and in his previous position as president of supermarkets was responsible for units including supply chain operations, retail innovation, real estate and construction, retail operations and merchandising. He joined the company as a retail clerk in August 1985, according to his profile on LinkedIn.