The parent company of Acme Markets, the region's largest grocery chain, yesterday named Dan Sanders Acme's new president. Sanders, the former chief executive officer of Texas-based United Supermarkets, will join Acme immediately and replaces Judith Spires, who resigned earlier this month.

Supervalu Inc., the Minnesota company that owns Acme, appointed Sanders less than three weeks after Spires announced her resignation effective March 13. Acme operates 124 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, and it has more than 16,000 employees.

Acme, based in Malvern, has the largest market share in the Philadelphia region, though it has lost ground to ShopRite, Giant, and newcomers such as Wegmans.

During her four years at its helm, Spires led an effort to upgrade many of Acme's older stores.

On Tuesday, Supermarket News reported that Spires had been named chief executive of Kings Super Markets Inc., a 25-store chain based in Parsippany, N.J.

Supervalu said Sanders, who resigned last month from United Supermarkets, "has a long history in grocery retail." Before taking over as its chief executive, he had been that chain's chief marketing officer and was its director of human resources and advertising.

"Dan comes to us with a wealth of experience in the grocery industry and is well-positioned to continue to grow Acme in this market," Pete Van Helden, Supervalu's executive vice president of retail operations, said in a statement.

Sanders had previously been an equity partner and division president at AdPlex Inc., where he specialized in grocery retail advertising and digital asset management, Supervalu said.

"I appreciate Acme's long-standing history serving customers," Sanders said in a statement, "and being an active supporter of the communities it serves."