business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Mark Murray - the former president of Grand Valley University who apparently has only been in supermarkets as a customer but now is the new president of Meijer Inc. – spent his first week on the job visiting stores and meeting with managers.

"I want my first days with Meijer to be out where the work really gets done," Murray tells the Press. “I'm meeting directly with the folks who deliver the services to our customers.”

The company, while conceding that Murray has no retailing experience, says that it believes he has the leadership skills to help steer the company through the tremendously competitive times that it is facing.

The Press notes that Murray was accompanied by other members of the Meijer management team, including Doug Meijer, co-chairman, and Paul Boyer, vice chairman and co-CEO, a position he shares with Hank Meijer.
KC's View:
Leadership is a good thing, and probably in too short supply in an industry where sometimes it seems like there are more managers than leaders. That said, some modicum of experience in the retailing business might be useful in the competitive cauldron of Michigan retailing.

In academia, where Murray comes from, the biggest challenge is publish or perish. But in retailing, the stakes and the pressures are a lot greater. This will end up either being a master move by Meijer, or an utter disaster.

We wish him luck. He’s gonna need it.