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Lucky Stores' Ex-Chief Will Join Sequoia

June 29, 1989|MARTHA GROVES

John M. Lillie, who stepped down April 30 as chairman and chief executive of Lucky Stores, will join a Northern California investment firm as of Saturday.

Lillie, 52, a Stanford MBA with experience in forest products, printing and bulk chemicals, will become a general partner of Sequoia Associates, with responsibility for seeking out acquisitions.

The other general partners are William D. Walsh and Robert A. Ferris, who worked with Lillie at Arcata Corp., a printing and redwood forest products company.

Sequoia Associates, based in Menlo Park, has interests in printing, heavy equipment manufacturing, forestry and agricultural operations, food manufacturing, photographic supplies and training and education.

Los Angeles Times Friday June 30, 1989 Home Edition Business Part 4 Page 2 Column 5 Financial Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Lucky Stores' 1986 restructuring involved a repurchase of 28% of its shares rather than a special payment to shareholders, as was erroneously indicated in the People column Thursday.

It holds controlling stakes in a number of companies, including Pacific Fruit Growers-Packers in Wenatchee, Wash., and Sequoia Pacific Systems in Exeter, Calif., which prints labels, business forms and election ballots and builds ballot machines. It also prints the All-Star baseball ballot forms.

While at Lucky, Lillie weathered a 1986 hostile takeover effort by New York investor Asher B. Edelman that prompted a dramatic overhaul of the Dublin, Calif., food retailer. To fend off Edelman, Lucky sold its money-losing Gemco stores, sold or spun off some specialty retailing chains and paid a one-time dividend to shareholders.

Within months, Wall Street analysts began applauding Lucky's return to profitability. The company's successful policy of offering consistently low prices and shunning double coupons and other costly marketing gimmicks last year drew the unwanted attention of rival American Stores, which operates Alpha Beta.

Last June, Lucky succumbed to a $2.6-billion acquisition by American Stores. Although Lillie was viewed as a possible contender for a top post at American Stores, that was not to be, and he resigned once it appeared that American Stores would win approval to merge Alpha Beta and Lucky under the Lucky banner. However, American Stores continues to be stymied by an antitrust challenge by California Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp.

Before joining Lucky in 1979, Lillie was president and chief executive of Leslie Salt Co. in Newark, Calif. Earlier, he was with General Paper Corp., a subsidiary of Boise Cascade Corp.

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