Pep Boys announces field management restructuring

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Pep Boys -- Manny, Moe & Jack has split its field management team into separate retail and service organizations, while announcing that its president, George Babich, is leaving the company "to pursue other opportunities."

As part of the new structure, store and service managers will report through a well-defined organization of area directors, divisional vice presidents and senior vice presidents.

The restructuring "will allow us to hire and train to more common industry skill sets," says Pep Boys Chairman and CEO Larry Stevenson.

It is expected to result in a pre-tax annual operating cost increase of $1 million to $2 million per year.

Pep Boys had assigned Babich the job of spearheading the company´s efforts to build "a national leading brand for automotive maintenance and repair," according to Pep Boys officials. He also had been charged with orchestrating the restructuring.

Pep Boys expects to record a pre-tax charge to this quarter´s earnings of $9 million for costs related to the reorganization, including the departure of certain store employees.

The Philadelphia, Pa.-based chain´s service business -- which includes labor, plus tires and installed merchandise -- has been struggling, including a 3.4% drop during the third quarter of 2004.

Pep Boys added Continental, General, Goodyear, Hankook and Michelin brand tires to its product screen last May.

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