Pantry CEO announces retirement

The Pantry convenience store chain plans to have a replacement hired before Peter Sodini leaves. The Sanford-based company also promoted its chief financial officer to a new post.

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The Pantry operates Kangaroo-branded stores
SANFORD, N.C. — Peter Sodini, longtime chairman and chief executive officer of The Pantry (Nasdaq: PTRY) convenience store chain, is retiring.

Sodini will step down Sept. 30 when his contract expires, the company said Thursday. A search is underway for a replacement. The Pantry’s board said it wants to have a new chief executive in place before Sodini leaves.

“I have now spent over 10 years with The Pantry, and am proud of what we have accomplished,” Sodini said in a statement. “Ultimately, however, the Board and I discussed the Company’s succession plan and we decided now was the right time to implement it. I look forward to working with the board to assure a seamless transition and I continue to remain enthusiastic about the company’s opportunities and prospects in the years to come.”

Sodini has helped build The Pantry into Fortune 500 company with 2008 revenues of some $9 billion. It operates more than 1,600 convenience stores in 11 states under such names as Kangaroo Express.

Sodini was named chairman in February of 2006. He has been president and CEO since June of 1996. Prior to the CEO post, Sodini served as chief operating officer for four months. Before joining the Pantry, he worked at Purity Supreme and several supermarket chains.

Also Thursday, the company promoted Frank Paci to executive vice president of business operations. Since 2007, Paci has been the Pantry’s senior vice president for finance and chief financial officer. He worked at Blockbuster from 1999-2007.