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The Indiana Business Journal reports that Ron Marshall, the former CEO of Nash Finch, may be in line to get a top job at Marsh once the sale of the company to a private equity firm is completed.

A tentative deal for Marsh to be acquired by Sun Capital Partners for about $88 million was announced late last week. Marsh operates 70 Marsh grocery stores, 38 LoBill Foods stores, eight O'Malia Food Markets and 160 Village Pantry convenience stories across Indiana and western Ohio, and the speculation is that the company will be quickly broken up and sold.

Marsh has had competitive problems in recent years, as well as garnering significant bad publicity because of what some analysts felt were extravagant payments to family members who worked for the company. Just two months ago, the company’s board of directors decided to close nine stores and fire four family members - David Marsh, the company’s president, as well as Arthur Marsh, Don Marsh Jr., and Joseph Heerens – as it tried to refocus the company.

Ironically, ethical questions were raised about Marshall two months ago when Nash Finch announced that it had communicated the results of an internal probe of stock trading by officers and directors of the company to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the same day that Marshall left the company along with Kathleen E. McDermott, the company's senior vice president, secretary and general counsel. Marshall had announced his retirement last September pending the naming of a permanent replacement, but when he quit in February he was replaced on a temporary basis by former Oshawa CEO Allister P. Graham. (Graham said at the time that Marshall's departure and the stock probe were not connected.)

It was only last week that Nash Finch named Alec C. Covington, the president/CEO of Tree of Life, to be its new president/CEO.
KC's View:
If Marsh is to survive as an entity – and there is no certainty that this is what the folks at Sun Capital want – then it will require a leader capable of innovative, ambitious thinking and the ability to inspire confidence in the employees as well as the company's traditional consumer base.

The question is whether it makes sense to hire someone who has been around the track more than a few times, or to hire someone who can see the situation and potential solutions with a new set of eyes unjaundiced by the actions of the past.