Casey’s hires two new executive officers


Casey’s hires two new executive officers

Both will be instrumental in chain’s expansion plans, CEO says

By Kathy A. Bolten, Business Record | May 14, 2020

Casey’s General Stores Inc. has hired two new executives who will be instrumental in helping the Ankeny-based convenience store chain implement its expansion plans, Darren Rebelez, the company’s president and CEO, announced.

Ena Williams (top photo) will become Casey’s chief operating officer, a position that has been reintroduced at the company, Rebelez said. Steve Bramlage (bottom photo) will become Casey’s chief financial officer, replacing Bill Walljasper, who earlier this year announced his plans to retire.

Williams and Bramlage will begin their new positions on June 1.

At a January investor meeting, Rebelez laid out a three-year strategy for growth at the company that includes "reinventing" the customer experience, expanding and improving in the digital realm, and investing in expanding the company through mergers and acquisitions.

Accomplishing those goals meant "building out our team," Rebelez told the Business Record today. 

Adding the position of chief operating officer "allows us the bandwidth to move a little more quickly on executing a number of the initiatives we outlined in our strategic plan," he said. Casey’s previously had a chief operating office but the position was not filled when Terry Handley, who had held the position, became president in 2014. Handley was named  CEO in 2016.

The position of chief operating officer is "a pretty traditional one for a retailer of our size, and I think is an important [position] to add at this juncture to accelerate our strategic plan," saidRebelez, who became Casey’s CEO and president in June 2019.

Casey’s operates more than 2,200 stores in 16 states. However, 2,000 of the stores are in nine states, he said. The goal is to expand in the states with only a few stores, he said. "We have a lot of room to grow."

Plans also call for expanding into areas where Casey’s isn’t yet located. For instance, a new distribution center in Joplin, Mo., will help the company expand into northern Texas, Rebelez said.

Williams, who spent about a decade at 7-Eleven where she was a senior vice president and head of international, will be instrumental in helping with the expansion, Rebelez said.

"She’s a career professional in the convenience store space … and she’s operated at a much larger scale than Casey’s, so she’ll be able to help us accelerate our growth," he said. 

Bramlage comes from Aramark, where he was chief financial officer for the $16 billion food, facilities and uniform services company. Like Casey’s, Aramark is publicly traded. 

"We felt it was important to have someone with comparable experience and credibility with the investment community [as Walljasper], and Steve certainly brings that," Rebelez said. Bramlage also has experience with mergers and acquisitions. 

A new team has been put together solely dedicated to mergers and acquisitions that will report to the financial team headed by Bramlage, Rebelez said.  

Casey’s "has never had a team dedicated to doing nothing but acquisitions, and in my experience, that's the most effective way to really accelerate that activity and be proactive in ... identifying potential acquisition opportunities," he said.

Walljasper will remain with the company as executive adviser to assist with the transition. 


Source: Business Record