Hartmann to leave True Value Company

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Hartmann to leave True Value Company

By Ken Clark - 04/20/2020
John Hartmann, the hard-charging executive who led True Value Company through a dramatic transition from a hardware co-operative to a privately held distributor, announced Monday that he will leave the company.

A former Grainger executive, Chris Kempa has been promoted to CEO. The executive recently joined True Value Company as chief commercial officer, leading initiatives involving sales, pricing and merchandising. Current CFO Deb O’Connor, a five year company veteran, will become president and CFO.

In a letter to current True Value customers, Hartmann said he will remain at True Value into May to aid with the transition. He also said he was asked to continue serving as a member of the board.

Chris Kempa

Hartmann joined True Value Company seven years ago. During his tenure, he led the dramatic sale of the company to private equity firm ACON Investments in early 2018. The move was often touted by True Value as a growth-focused transaction that unlocked a quarter of a billion dollars in trapped equity for True Value members.

“I know I am leaving True Value in a wonderful position to thrive,” Hartmann said in a video, in which he appeared together with Kempa, both men observing six-feet of social distancing.

In the video, Kempa said he was excited to lead the business into the next phase of growth.

“I joined the business because I was convinced the vision for the company and for the industry was spot on,” Kempa said. “I also joined because I know the hardware industry is strong and growing. And I joined knowing the transformational journey we are on is not complete.”