Winn-Dixie CEO Peter Lynch stepping down as supermarket chain merges with Bi-Lo, will be replaced by Bi-Lo Chairman Randall Onstead

JACKSONVILLE, Florida , January 16, 2012 () – The chief executive officer of Winn-Dixie is stepping down as the Florida-based supermarket chain merges with Bi-Lo LLC.

CEO Peter Lynch told employees in a letter Friday that he'll stay on for another 60 to 120 days. South Carolina-based Bi-Lo purchased Winn-Dixie for about $560 million in December.

The combined company will have about 690 stores and 63,000 workers in eight southern states. Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. will become a privately held Bi-Lo subsidiary.

Replacing Lynch as Winn-Dixie's chief will be Randall Onstead, currently Bi-Lo's chairman.

Lynch has been Winn-Dixie CEO since 2005. In his letter Lynch says he helped the chain return to profitability after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2006.

That included remodeling more than half of Winn-Dixie's stores and new marketing campaigns.

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