Tractor Supply CEO to step down in 2013

Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply has announced a management succession plan to take effect Jan. 1.

Jim Wright, who was named CEO of Tractor Supply in 2004 and who took on the additional role of chairman in 2007, will be replaced by Gregory Sandfort, currently the company’s chief operating officer.

Sandfort joined Tractor Supply as chief merchandising officer in November 2007. He was promoted to president and chief merchandising officer in February 2009 and to president and chief operating officer in February 2012. Prior to joining Tractor Supply, he previously served as president and chief operating officer at Michaels Stores and has also held positions of increasing responsibility in merchandising and management at retailers such as Sears Roebuck and Co. and Federated Department Stores.

Tractor Supply is the largest farm and ranch retailer in the United States, with 1,135 stores. The company was named Home Channel News retailer of the year in 2007 at a ceremony at the National Hardware Show.

Wright joined Tractor Supply in 2000 as president and chief operating officer. During his tenure, Tractor Supply’s revenues increased from $759 million in 2000 to $4.2 billion in 2011.

In 2008, Wright described the essence of Tractor Supply Co. to a room full of investors: “What makes Tractor Supply work is the eclectic mix of product that happens to produce a market basket that’s just a general store for people living their lifestyle,” he said. “I wouldn’t doubt that several people will continue to take runs at some of our categories. And when they do, we’ll respond.”

Wright will be appointed executive chairman of the board with a term of one year on Jan. 1.

In a statement from yesterday’s announcement, Wright said: “I have been privileged to serve with an exceptional team at Tractor Supply over the past 12 years. I have confidence in the team's ability to continue the company's record of success and look forward to continuing to work with the leadership team in my new role as executive chairman.”

The company also announced today that Steve Barbarick has been promoted to executive VP merchandising. 

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