VOL. 133 | NO. 25 | Friday, February 2, 2018
Fred’s Changes CFOs for Second Time in Seven Months
By Andy Meek
Memphis-based retailer Fred’s Inc. has replaced its CFO for the second time in less than a year. Fred’s on Thursday, Feb. 1, announced the appointment of Joseph Anto as executive vice president and CFO, effectively immediately. He succeeds Jason Jenne, who was appointed CFO in July and is leaving the company.
(Daily News file/Andrew J. Breig)
Anto brings 15 years’ worth of a finance, mergers and acquisitions, and business development background to Fred’s from the media industry. He previously served as senior vice president of strategy and M&A at MediaNews Group Inc., doing business as DigitalFirst Media, one of the largest newspaper companies in the U.S. That company is owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, whose president is Fred’s board chairman Heath Freeman.
Anto also has been consulting over the past seven months for Fred’s, which has been in the midst of a protracted company-wide turnaround effort.
“Joe’s experience and expertise is invaluable as we continue to implement our strategic initiatives to drive increased traffic and comp sales, reduce SG&A, generate free cash flow and optimize our balance sheet," Fred’s CEO Mike Bloom said in a statement. "Joe is a proven financial and business development executive, and brings a diverse set of skills and experience that will help position Fred’s for long-term success.”
It's yet another in a series of changes that dominated the company story throughout 2017. By the end of the year, Fred's had, for example, cancelled its dividend and acknowledged that it's considering "various strategic transactions and alternatives" for assets like its specialty pharmacy business.
Fred's shares were down around 80 percent for the year.