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New Aaron's CEO "Excited" About Company's Future

Former Delta CEO Ron Allen says he wants to build upon company's legacy

Interim Aaron’s CEO and President Ron Allen told investors in a conference call Monday that he looks forward to building upon the company's success.

"I'm just excited about the future of this company, and to be part of this now as CEO is even more gratifying," he said.

Allen, former CEO at Delta Air Lines and a member of Aaron’s board since 1997, was named Friday as the interim replacement for Robin Loudermilk, who announced his resignation as CEO and president because of health concerns.

Company Chief Financial Officer Gil Danielson said during the conference call "I assure you that none of Robin's medical issues are in any way life-threatening.” He expressed appreciation for messages of concern the company has received for Loudermilk, the son of company founder Charlie Loudermilk.

“Robin has struggled with anxiety and related issues for years,” Danielson said. “With the increasing demands and stress of being CEO of a large and growing public company, Robin feels he would now rather focus his time and attention on his health and his personal and family’s real estate business. Real estate has always been a passion for Robin.”

Danielson emphasized Allen's "wealth of management experience" and the company's veteran management team. Chief Operating Officer Ken Butler also participated in the conference call.

In the conference call, Allen said that the change will not affect Charlie Loudermilk’s position as Aaron’s board chairman. He said that having the company founder remaining active in that role makes Aaron’s “ a very unique company.”

“We want to build upon that legacy and strengthen those basic foundations that have made this company so unique in this market,” Allen said.

In reponse to an investor’s question, Allen said that “there’s going to be a steep learning curve here” as he seeks to understand more about the business. He said that on Monday he would visit Aaron’s stores in Atlanta.

“I want to focus on the people aspects of the business,” he said. “I have so much to learn and have more questions than answers at the present time." He continued that “I certainly want to keep growing this business. It’s been a very successful formula” and that “this is a very refreshing time for the company to re-examine various aspects of its operations.”

Danielson said the board would form a committee to search for a permanent replacement for Robin Loudermilk and that the company would look internally and externally. He said there’s no time frame for the search.

The company will seek to continue its growth of 7 to 8 percent a year, and plans to maintain its strategy for expanion into Canada, Meixico and Europe, he said.

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