Fred’s Inc. has announced that Michael Hayes will step down as chairman of the board of directors, effective April 15, 2016. The board has appointed Thomas Tashjian, a director of the company since 2001, as the new chairman of the board. With this succession, Hayes becomes chairman emeritus and will remain on the board.
Hayes was elected a director of Fred’s in 1987 after he and a business partner provided financing for the company, then named Baddour, Inc. In 1989, he was appointed CEO. In late 2008, Hayes relinquished the role of CEO, continuing as chairman of its board of directors.
Hayes said, “The past 18 to 24 months have been the most challenging of my career, as the company and its board of directors recognized the need to refocus the company, rebuild its management structure, rework our bank agreements, and execute our largest acquisition to date: Reeves-Sain Drugs and EntrustRx. This acquisition substantially strengthened our position in the specialty pharmacy business. We now have in place a successful, experienced and energetic management team, focused on driving deeper into health care, and also stronger general merchandising departments. What is now needed is an energetic chairman that has both the vision and skill set to keep this momentum going, and I believe Tom Tashjian is the right person to do this. I want to thank Fred’s employees, the board of directors, and our shareholders for allowing me to serve them for the past 24 years.”
Tashjian added, “As a director for the past 15 years, I have developed a deep appreciation for Mike’s ability to incent, innovate and inspire, and for the tenacity with which he has pursued his vision for a stronger company. The transformation during his tenure, in terms of its retail operations, diversification into health care, financial strength, depth of talent and ability to capitalize on new opportunities, has been incredible. We are grateful to Mike for his energy and passion, and for his dedication in building a capable and talented management team to lead Fred’s on the continuation of its promising journey.”