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Kmart hires 'chief restructuring officer'

Kmart Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Tuesday, announced the appointment of a new executive vice president charged with coordinating the retailer's financial restructuring efforts.

The company said Ronald Hutchison will serve as its new "Chief Restructuring Officer," effective immediately. Hutchinson will work with other members of the company's senior management team to "aggressively address" Kmart's debt level and poor sales, Kmart said.

Hutchison, 51, most recently served as CFO of Advantica Restaurant Group, Inc. where he helped that company eliminate or restructure more than $2 billion of debt. He was also involved in the financial reorganization of Leaseway Transportation, a transportation holding company that emerged from Chapter 11 in the early 1990s, Kmart said.

"Ron Hutchison is ideally suited to help guide Kmart through the Chapter 11 process," Charles Conaway, Kmart's CEO, said in a statement. "The reorganizations he has led involved many complex issues not unlike those we face at Kmart, and through each he demonstrated considerable financial acumen and the ability to work with multiple constituencies towards a positive outcome."

The nation's No. 2 discount retailer behind Wal-Mart, Kmart has set 2003 as its goal for emerging from Chapter 11. The $37 billion company operates 2,100 stores.

-- Staff and wire reports

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