Meijer president Symancyk leaves for Academy Sports

Meijer president J. K. Symancyk (right) is leaving the grocery chain to lead Academy Sports + Outdoors as president and CEO, effective Nov. 2.

Symancyk was president of Meijer for nearly three years, leading the chain through a string of consistent comparable store sales increases, new market expansion and development of a long-term diversification strategy. He was promoted to the president role after one year as COO.

"J.K. is an exceptional retail strategist with a strong business and financial acumen and proven track record of success," said Nate Taylor, chairman of the Academy board and head of retail, Americas, for parent company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co (KRR).  "We believe that he will strengthen an already talented management team and enhance a corporate infrastructure that is well positioned for the future."

At Academy, Symancyk succeeds Rodney Faldyn, a 10-year veteran of the company. Under Faldyn's leadership, the sports and outdoor retailer grew its store count by 50 percent, launched a new e-commerce platform, implemented a new Oracle management system, and doubled its cash flow from earnings.  

Faldyn started as Academy's CFO in 2006, was promoted to president in 2007, and became CEO when private equity firm KRR acquired majority interest of Academy in 2011.

"I'm humbled and thrilled by the opportunity to become a part of the Academy Sports + Outdoors family, and I feel fortunate to be succeeding such a charismatic and accomplished leader as Rodney," said Symancyk. "The future for Academy Sports + Outdoors is truly limitless, and I'm eager to ensure we continue offering customers convenience, a broad selection of quality products and exceptional customer service as we strive to remain the low price leader in our category."

Symancyk started at Meijer as a group VP of fresh foods in 2006 and was promoted to exec-VP of merchandising and marketing after two years. He also held several leadership roles at Sam's Club prior to his time at Meijer. Press Release