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Jan 3, 2020

Roots CEO Jim Gabel leaves retailer, Meghan Roach appointed as interim replacement

The storefront of a Roots location in Toronto is pictured on Thursday, September 14 , 2017

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Roots Canada chief executive Jim Gabel has left the company effective immediately, as the board of directors expressed a need for "renewed leadership", the retailer said Friday.

The company's board of directors has appointed Meghan Roach as the retailer's temporary chief executive. Roach has served as interim chief financial officer for the company since August and is a previous board member for the retailer.

She replaces Gabel, who has served in the top post since February 2016.

The company did not say why Gabel left the position, but board chair Erol Uzumeri said in the statement that "the board believes that Roots requires renewed leadership to carry the company into its next phase -- executing on profitable growth opportunities while enhancing operational efficiency."

The company downgraded its sales expectations for its current financial year in December when it reported its most recent quarterly earnings. The move came as the retailer grapples with a shortened holiday shopping period and other challenges.

It declined to provide a new sales guidance figure, but previously anticipated sales for the year to total between $358 million and $375 million.

The company is currently in the fourth quarter of its 2019 financial year.

Uzumeri thanked Gabel "for his many contributions" and offered well wishes for his future endeavours.

The board has engaged a leading international search firm to find a permanent replacement, the company said.

Gabel is the second top executive to leave the company since August.

The company's former chief financial officer Jim Rudyk resigned in May, but stayed on in the role until early August.

At the time, the company said Rudyk "resigned to pursue an opportunity at a private, family-owned food services company." He now serves as executive vice president and CFO for Markham, Ont.-based Sofina Foods Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile.

While Roach has served as interim CFO, the company announced in December it had appointed Mona Kennedy to the role. She will start by the end of the company's first quarter of its 2020 financial year.