M. Sandlin "Sandy" Grimm is general counsel for Bi-Lo Holdings LLC, the parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, among the largest supermarket chains in the United States. The ­company has 686 grocery stores and 482 in-store pharmacies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missis­sippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Privately held Bi-Lo would not disclose revenues, but it employs nearly 60,000 people. Asked about hiring, Grimm said it was flat during the past year.
Grimm heads a legal team of about 10 attorneys and staff. One of the challenges that the company faces at Bi-Lo is budget pressure, he said.
"We are constantly seeking to improve our processes to meet that challenge," Grimm said. "Our team continues to beat budget projections and exceed expectations."
Grimm works with an executive team that includes chief executive officer Randall Onstead and chief operations officer Mark Prestidge. He reports to chief financial officer Brian Carney.
Grimm's team keeps much of its legal work in-house, but he has used attorneys at Gibson, Dunn & Crut­cher for mergers and acquisitions and for financial transactions.
For labor and employment matters, he has sent some work to Miami-based Clarke Silverglate. Other law firms handling the company's labor and employment matters are Jackson Lewis; Shankman Leone of Tampa, Fla.; and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough of Columbia, S.C.
Clarke Silverglate handles the bulk of Bi-Lo's commercial litigation.
Grimm is in his Jacksonville, Fla., office by 7:30 a.m., but he may already be answering emails before he arrives. He generally heads home by 7 p.m., and usually will answer emails throughout the evening. To handle the job, Grimm advises those who step into a general counsel role to get to know the outgoing in-house lawyers. When he joined the company, Jay Castle, former vice president of litigation at Winn-Dixie, offered to introduce Grimm to people who had insight into different areas of the law. "My advice: Find your 'Jay,' " Grimm said.
ROUTE TO THE TOP
Grimm graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He decided to go to law school at age 30 and graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1996. He was director of legal affairs at Innovative Computing Corp. for six years. After an associate job at Morris, Manning & Martin, he moved to Georgia-Pacific Corp., where was became corporate counsel in 2002. In 2006, he joined Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., and in 2012, he went to Bi-Lo as vice president, general counsel and secretary.
A native of Dallas, Grimm enjoys boating. He and his wife, Kelly, have two sons, William, 13, and Thomas, 11. He said that his community involvement includes acting as the support crew for his wife's participation in charity runs.
LAST BOOK AND MOVIE
The last book Grimm had time to read was the humorous memoir Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain. The last movie he saw was The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp.