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True Value CEO to Step Down

True Value Company has announced leadership changes at its executive level. John Hartmann, who has served as CEO since 2013, will step down in May. A former Grainger executive, Chris Kempa has been promoted to CEO. Kempa joined True Value in December 2019. Current CFO Deb O’Connor, who has been with the company for five years, will become president and CFO.

Hartmann oversaw True Value’s sale to private equity firm ACON Investments in early 2018, a move that transformed the company from a hardware co-operative to a privately held distributor. The move was often touted by True Value as a growth-focused transaction that unlocked a quarter of a billion dollars in trapped equity for True Value members.

In a letter to current True Value stores, Hartmann said he will remain at True Value until May in order to aid with the transition. He also said he was asked, and has agreed to continue serving as a member of the board.

“Over the last seven years, John’s leadership has shaped the company, including the last two with us, where he was the visionary behind the transaction unlocking over $250 million of retailers’ equity,” said Aron Schwartz, chairman of True Value Company. “He was the leading advocate of investments the company has made in supply chain, technology, as well as a number of merchandising and marketing initiatives, to better serve True Value’s customers. As the company moves into this next phase of growth, we have a deep leadership bench, with Chris and Deb at the helm, to continue the important investments being made to support the growth and profitability of our retailers.”

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