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Name and title: William Costantini, senior vice president, general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer Age: 57 The company: The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc.’s family of supermarkets was founded in 1859, at one time becoming the nation’s largest grocer. Better known as A&P, the company now oversees, operates and/or supplies a regional blend of 630 supermarkets in 10 states, Washington and Canada. With Montvale, N.J., as its corporate headquarters, A&P has 45,000 North American employees and annual revenues “just shy” of $11 billion. Besides its A&P stores, the grocery empire includes Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium, Dominion and Food Basics. Private-brand products, among them America’s Choice and Master Choice, round out its offerings. Sarbanes-Oxley: Costantini is one general counsel who is pleased to spend a lot of time on duties related to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: “If you are in-house, you know from day one that although you work for the CEO, your client is the corporation. You have to protect the corporation and you have to protect the board.” Despite the painstaking compliance work, he said, “Now in addition to your code of ethics that you always had to comply with, you have a statute that backs you up.” Legal matters: In 2000, A&P had to restate income for the prior three years because the way vendor allowances are reported had changed under generally accepted accounting principles. Vendor allowances are payments by food manufacturers to food retailers for various promotions. As a result, A&P was targeted in a handful of suits consolidated under Brody v. A&P, No. 02-2675 (D.N.J.), a class action revolving around issues of vendor allowance and income recognition. Costantini said, “We were very comfortable that we had done nothing wrong and were determined to fight. We wanted vindication.” Filed in U.S. district court in Newark, N.J., the case was dismissed, and, a month ago, the dismissal was upheld. No. 03-4100 (3d Cir.). “It was the right case to fight,” said A&P’s GC, who handled the case with assistance from Bob Alessi, a Cahill Gordon & Reindel securities litigator. On May 4, A&P reached a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office in a dispute over sweepstakes rules violations. It incurred $38,000 in civil penalties and had to change contest rules so that participants would not have to buy products to enter. A&P does not comment on current litigation, but the company is now embroiled in a case in which it is alleged that A&P, Waldbaum’s and Food Emporium failed to pay overtime and deleted hours from timesheets over the past six years. LaMarca v. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., No. 04601973 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), was filed on June 24 and seeks class certification for the grocery workers. West Coast strike: Costantini “kept a close eye” on last winter’s $1 billion, four-month-long strike and lockout involving 59,000 union workers, the lengthiest and costliest in supermarket history. No A&P entity was targeted, but the unions involved also represent A&P workers, through different locals. “Through the grapevine,” he has heard that unions drained their funds in supporting striking members, and that this situation “probably weakened [their] appetite for another strike.” He is in contract negotiations with several of the unions and said that he has good relationships with them. A generalist: Costantini’s responsibilities also include “a little bit” of immigration work, particularly involving executives moving north or south of the U.S./ Canada border. He has participated in “three or four major sales of nonstrategic assets, primarily to leverage down debt.” Slip-and-fall incidents fall under the umbrella of A&P’s risk management department, a group to which Costantini provides general oversight. He is more hands on, however, in handling liability insurance for the firm’s directors and officers. A&P has a system in place for product recalls, with Costantini a member of the “crisis team.” During his stint, such recalls have been “mechanical and nonalarming.” Working with A&P’s tax department, Costantini has generated nearly 50 licenses related to the sale of alcohol and tobacco. Illegal sales to minors have spurred occasional dealings with local district attorneys, and Costantini is responsible for employee discipline-automatic dismissal-in such cases. After Sept. 11, 2001, he worked with the FBI analyzing Cipro sales in 28 of its New Jersey stores, hoping to uncover leads in the anthrax assaults. Legal team: Costantini is one of nine in-house A&P lawyers. He reports to Christian W.E. Haub, A&P’s chairman, president and chief operating officer. The Tengelmann Group, a German retailer, is a 57% shareholder, and Costantini deals with its corporate staff on a long-distance basis. He seeks to perform all legal work in-house, except litigation, which is automatically farmed out. Costantini turns to Cahill Gordon & Reindel of New York for corporate work and major litigation. “Two regional players,” Hartford, Conn.’s Day, Berry & Howard and Montvale, N.J.’s Beattie Padovano also provide external help. Route to the top: The New York native graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969, received a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and then got his law degree in 1974 from St. John’s University School of Law. He launched his career at International Business Machines Corp. and, in 1980, became assistant general counsel of GEO International. Costantini was named GEO’s executive vice president, general counsel and secretary in 1984. In 1992, he moved to Olsten Corp., as senior vice president and general counsel. He took on his current A&P duties in April 2000. Personal: Costantini and his wife, Susan, are the parents of Ryan, 27, and Erin, 24. A Notre Dame and Yankees enthusiast, Costantini also goes fitness walking, kayaking and swimming. He appeared recently on public television’s Face Off as a Sarbanes-Oxley expert. Last book and movie: The Lake House, by James Patterson, and The Bourne Supremacy.

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