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Casey's Succession Open

Lamb, chairman, passes away from cancer, leaving position unfilled for now
ANKENY, Iowa -- Following the passing late last week of chairman Ronald M. Lamb, executives at Casey's General Stores Inc. said Casey's president and chief executive officer Robert Myers will continue to run board meetings. Lamb, 74, chairman and former CEO of Casey's, died June 11 following a battle with cancer. Bill Walljasper, Casey's chief financial officer, told The Des Moines Register on Saturday that the company is not yet certain who will take over the chairman's role.

Lamb was a highly regarded leader in the convenience store industry and was instrumental [image-nocss] in the direction and success of Casey's. In his nearly 40 years with the company, he served in various positions, ranging from store manager to chairman. His determination and insight enabled Casey's to become one of the leading convenience store chains in the nation.

"Ron's exceptional character and integrity influenced the lives of many people," said Myers in a press statement. "His tireless work ethic and strong leadership style are embedded into the culture of our company."

Lamb, a self-described "behind-the-desk guy," served as a vice president of the company from 1976 until 1987 when he was elected chief operating officer. He served as president and COO from September 1988 until becoming president and CEO in 1998. He has been a director of the company since 1981.

He replaced Casey's co-founder Don Lamberti as chairman in 2003, succeeded as CEO by Myers, then president and COO, in 2006.

During Lamb's tenure as CEO, Casey's expanded its self-distribution capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 new stores; rolled out a comprehensive scanning and inventory automation program; settled firmly into its proprietary prepared-foods business of store-baked pizza and doughnuts; and nurtured a culture of discipline and consistent execution well-known in the c-store industry.

Click hereto read the CSP magazine cover feature on Casey's General Stores, which highlights Lamb's role with the company.

Jeff Lamberti, a Casey's board member and son of company founder Donald Lamberti, praised Lamb's skill with the details of running c-stores, from keeping them clean to stocking shelves and managing store employees, said the Register.

Casey's officials told the newspaper that Lamb's illness for much of the past year kept him out of the boardroom as Casey's attempts to thwart a hostile takeover attempt by Canadian chain Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.; however, Lamb remained active in board meetings via telephone.

Jeff Lamberti said Lamb left a "pretty good job in the grocery business" to go to work for Casey's founder. He was one of the first four managers of a Casey's store. He rapidly ascended to become a key executive and replaced Donald Lamberti as president and CEO when Lamberti retired.

Darryl Bacon, vice president of food services for Casey's, described his boss as a kind soul with a common touch. "The guy was just so big-hearted and down to earth," Bacon told the paper. "If you had a great work ethic, Ron believed in you. He gave you every chance."

Bacon said Lamb was known for a family-first approach to business and for his psychological warfare on the golf course. "He'd say, 'You know that water's pretty deep. I don't know if you can get over that water today.' And of course you'd hit it in the water."

Casey's, based in Ankeny, Iowa, has 1,513 corporate stores in 11 states. It also operates HandiMart and Just Diesel locations.

Lamb's funeral was held today in Des Moines. Burial will be in his hometown of Mount Ayr, Iowa.CSP sends its condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues.

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