Dollar General gets new CEO 

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Friday April 30, 2010

Dollar General gets new CEO

Dollar General, the struggling discount retailer, has turned to a 54-year-old turnaround specialist with decades of experience in the food and drug to rescue the Goodlettsville-based chain from sluggish sales.

Richard W. Dreiling, who has been the top officer with the biggest drugstore chain in the New York City area since late 2005, will start as Dollar General's CEO next Monday.

Wall Street analysts said Dreiling has his work cut out for him as the middle-income shoppers who are Dollar General's bread and butter find it tougher to cope with rising food and gas prices.

"The Dollar General customer is the customer that is really killed in this economy," said Howard Davidowitz, a New York retail consultant at Davidowitz & Associates Inc. "It's hard to sell that customer more stuff because the customer doesn't have any money."

Dreiling has been president and CEO of the Duane Reade drugstore chain for two years and became its chairman last year. Earlier in his career, Dreiling had leadership roles with Longs Drug Stores Corp., a major chain in the western U.S., and Safeway grocery stores.

David Bere, who acted as interim CEO at Dollar General, will remain chief operating officer and president, the company said. The chain had 8,237 stores at the end of last year.

"Rick ranks among the retail industry's outstanding executives, and he has a long and successful track record," said Mike Calbert, a partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., the private equity investor that bought Dollar General for $7.3 billion last summer. Calbert was named Dollar General's chairman.

Former CEO David Perdue resigned last July.

Began as clerk

Dreiling is no stranger to turning around businesses,

Wall Street analysts said Dreiling has his work cut out for him as the middle-income shoppers who are Dollar General's bread and butter find it tougher to cope with rising food and gas prices.

"The Dollar General customer is the customer that is really killed in this economy," said Howard Davidowitz, a New York retail consultant at Davidowitz & Associates Inc. "It's hard to sell that customer more stuff because the customer doesn't have any money."

Dreiling has been president and CEO of the Duane Reade drugstore chain for two years and became its chairman last year. Earlier in his career, Dreiling had leadership roles with Longs Drug Stores Corp., a major chain in the western U.S., and Safeway grocery stores.

David Bere, who acted as interim CEO at Dollar General, will remain chief operating officer and president, the company said. The chain had 8,237 stores at the end of last year.

"Rick ranks among the retail industry's outstanding executives, and he has a long and successful track record," said Mike Calbert, a partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., the private equity investor that bought Dollar General for $7.3 billion last summer. Calbert was named Dollar General's chairman.

Former CEO David Perdue resigned last July.

Began as clerk

Dreiling is no stranger to turning around