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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jun. 23, 201710:19 AM EST

Leading Winn-Dixie: A look at the CEOs who led Jacksonville's grocery chain

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Now under the umbrella of Southeastern Grocers, the Jacksonville chain is again seeking a new CEO

Next week is the last for Ian McLeod’s leadership of Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie and other banners.

McLeod came to Southeastern Grocers in March 2015 and leaves to lead Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong, starting Sept. 18.

COO Anthony Hucker will take over as interim president and chief executive officer.

As president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, McLeod led banners that include Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie.

The Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. grocery chain has a rich history in Jacksonville and McLeod was one of a line of CEOs in a company that traces its history back to the early 1900s.

Historical records show that William Milton (W.M.) Davis in 1913 bought a Burley, Idaho, general store and renamed it Davis Mercantile. 

He moved to Florida upon the advice of his brother and bought Rockmoor Grocery in Miami, changing its name in the mid-1920s to Table Supply.

After his death in 1934, his four sons — James E. (J.E.) Davis, M. Austin Davis, Tine W. Davis and Artemus Darius (A.D.) Davis took over the company.

They moved it to Jacksonville in 1944 as the Winn & Lovett Grocery Co. Corporate records show the name was changed to Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. in 1955.

Winn-Dixie presidents and CEOs since 1965

1965-1982: Bert Thomas

Having served in the Quartermaster Corps under Winn-Dixie Chairman J.E. Davis, Thomas joined the company in 1946 after leaving the Army. He served as president and CEO for 17 years and died after a stroke and heart attack two days before the 1982 annual meeting.

1982-1999: A. Dano Davis

Grandson of the Winn-Dixie founder and son of J.E. Davis, he began working for the family company in 1968.

1999-2003: Allen Rowland

The former Albertson’s executive was credited by analysts with stabilizing Winn-Dixie before retiring.

2003-2004: Frank Lazaran

He launched several strategic initiatives but Winn-Dixie recorded big losses during his tenure.

2004-2012: Peter Lynch

 He guided the company through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization before the merger with Bi-Lo Holdings.

2012-2015: Randall Onstead

The Bi-Lo chief executive remained CEO after Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie merged, with headquarters in Jacksonville. Southeastern Grocers was formed after Bi-Lo LLC bought Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. in 2012. Bi-Lo was based in Greenville, S.C., but moved the headquarters of the merged company to Winn-Dixie’s corporate offices. Southeastern Grocers is privately owned by funds associated with Dallas-based Lone Star Funds.

2015-2017: Ian McLeod

The Scottish executive was brought in from Australia after Onstead's retirement. In addition to other changes, he moved the corporate headquarters from Edgewood Court in West Jacksonville, where it was based since 1954, to Baymeadows.

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