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Manard M. Lagasse Jr., Associated Grocers Inc. president and CEO

Manard M. Lagasse Jr., a longtime attorney for Associated Grocers, has been named president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge-based company that provides services and distributes products to supermarkets.

Lagasse replaces Emile Breaux, who announced Thursday he was resigning as head of the business for personal reasons. Breaux said he will remain with Associated Grocers for a short time to ensure a smooth transition.

The company offers a range of services to more than 200 independent grocery stores stretching from east Texas to south Mississippi and up through central Louisiana.

Lagasse joined Associated Grocers in 2007 and was serving as senior vice president and general counsel when he was moved into the head job. Before he joined Associated Grocers, he worked as an attorney with Allen & Gooch Law Firm and Juneau David, both in Lafayette. He worked for Schilling Distributing Co., a Lafayette alcohol distributor, for more than a decade.

He earned a bachelor’s from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.

Lagasse is the fifth person to head Associated Grocers in nearly 60 years. Breaux took over as president and chief executive officer nearly four years ago. He joined the company in 1994.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the members and employees of the company for the last 25 years,” he said. “The blessings of the many friendships that have been forged during my time here will remain with me forever.”

Associated Grocers has annual sales of more than $700 million and more than 650 employees. Among the stores it supplies in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette are Robert Fresh Market, Breaux Mart, Calandro’s, Matherne’s, Hi-Nabor and NuNu's. AG supplies food and products to stores, including customized software for supermarkets. It sells everything from refrigeration equipment to shelves. The company does payroll and accounting for stores, providing marketing and advertising support with sophisticated business analytics.

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