Wawa CEO Stoeckel Passing the Baton at End of 2012

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Wawa CEO Stoeckel Passing the Baton at End of 2012


MEDIA, Pa. -- The end of 2012 will mark the end of an era at Wawa Inc. when CEO Howard Stoeckel officially retires from the convenience store leader, according to an industry source.

Stoeckel will step down just months after Wawa makes its boldest move in recent years and opens its first store in Florida. The Orlando location near Sea World will be the first time the c-store chain ventures outside its core Mid-Atlantic markets.

Though relinquishing his role as the chief executive of Wawa, Stoeckel will keep his seat on the company's board of directors. Current CFO Christopher Gheysens will ascend to the CEO position, according to the source.

In addition to the retailer's Florida expansion, Stoeckel has led Wawa's journey from a convenience store company to a fast-casual-on-the-go company. Wawa has revamped its coffee program in recent years and is now beginning to do the same to its foodservice area, as CSNews Online previously reported. Specifically, the chain is placing two to three large digital menu boards in every store and installing new ordering touch-screens to display pictures of the items available. The new screens are in a few test stores now and will get a full corporate rollout in April.

Also under Stoeckel's watch, the company opened its 200th gasoline store in 2006 -- just 10 years after opening the first Wawa with gas.

Stoeckel was appointed president and CEO, as well as vice chairman of the board of directors, on Jan. 1, 2005. He began his tenure at the company in 1987 and held several positions including executive vice president and chief retail officer; senior vice president of marketing; and vice president of human resources.

Before joining the company, he was vice president of human resources for Mast Industries, a division of the Limited Inc. His resume also includes human resources positions with the Washington Gas Co. in Washington, D.C., and John Wanamaker Department Stores in Philadelphia.

Stoeckel graduated from Rider College (now Rider University) with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1967. He sits on the board of directors of Amerigas Propane Inc., Rider University Board of Trustees, Main Line Health Board of Governors and Riddle Memorial Board of Directors in Media, Pa.