CEO of top Memphis company resigns

Fred's Inc. headquaters (Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)
Fred's Inc. headquaters (Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)

The CEO of Memphis-based Fred's Inc. has resigned.

In an email obtained by WMC Action News 5, Joe Anto announces the resignation of Mike Bloom and tells current employees that Anto has been appointed as interim CEO by the company's board.

Anto was previously the CFO of the company.

Bloom, who had been with the company since January 2015, served as Fred's CEO since August 2016. He spent 20 years with CVS prior to his time at Fred's.

"The Board is appreciative for Mike's contributions, dedication and service. Mike joined Fred's with significant experience with retail drugstores," Heath Freeman, Chairman of the Board said. "After the Company was not able to purchase certain assets from the Rite Aid Corporation and following the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the timing was right, both for Mike and the Company, for him to step down.  We wish him the very best.  The Fred's Board is confident that Mr. Anto will serve the Company well as Interim CEO."

Bloom tried to move Fred's away from its super dollar store history and into the fast-growing personal healthcare industry.

Four months into Bloom's tenure, Fred's agreed to buy 865 Rite Aids for $950 million in cash.

The deal hinged on Walgreens buying Rite Aid and selling a chunk of the stores to Fred's, but the Federal Trade Commission didn't sign off on it.

Then a week ago, Fred's announced it was postponing its 4th quarter and 2017 results as it tried to sell off its pharmacy business.

The acquisition of Rite Aid would have made Fred's the third-largest drugstore chain in the United States.

Fred's laid off about 100 workers before Thanksgiving in 2017.

Fred's Inc. is a pharmacy and discount store that first opened in 1947. It now has more than 600 stores and 8,500 workers in the southeastern United States.

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