GNC Holdings announced the appointment of Ken Martindale as chief executive officer on Wednesday, effective Sept. 11, according to a press release.
He succeeds interim CEO Bob Moran, who has been elected non-executive chairman of the GNC board and will work closely with him to ensure a smooth leadership transition, the company said. As part of the transition, Michael Hines will step down as chairman, but remains on the board.
Martindale most recently served as CEO of Rite Aid Stores and president of Rite Aid Corp., where he was instrumental in leading the company's transformation, including the roll out of a new store format and an expansion of its loyalty program. He joined Rite Aid in 2008 and took on the role as CEO in 2015. Prior to joining Rite Aid, he was co-president, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Pathmark Stores.
The transition comes after Moran shepherded GNC to much more solid territory.
Among the company’s moves early this year — in addition to ongoing benefits from the mass shuttering-and-reopening event late last year that was both a literal and symbolic rebirth of the company’s approach — GNC opened a storefront on Amazon (sales from that are included in its e-commerce sales, the company said). The Amazon business is exceeding expectations, the company said in April, with higher-margin products doing well there.
The company is also seeing positive results from the changes to its loyalty program: The retailer estimates that under its current program, its loyalty members will be shopping six times per year (compared to four under the previous model), spending more than its previous Gold Card customers, CFO Tricia Tolliver told analysts earlier this year.
The stores have also shifted the emphasis of the customer experience from driving staff to boost loyalty membership to training associates to have conversations around how supplements can solve customer problems, like marathon or sports training regimens or addressing health issues like sleep problems. To help sales associates, the company has provided them with tablets so that information is at their fingertips, executives told analysts. The company is also being more mindful about discounts, moving to cut prices in a way that is more targeted, more "meaningful" to customers and will drive traffic, executives said.
The ongoing implementation of the supplement retailer's turnaround now falls to Martindale.