By  on January 31, 2012

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. has opted not to renew the employment contract of Anthony Buccina, vice chairman and president of merchandising, upon its April 30 expiration.

Buccina’s contract, amended last April, called for an automatic renewal unless he or Bon-Ton served notice of their intent not to renew. The nonrenewal doesn’t constitute a termination of employment, although speculation about Buccina’s future with the company has been swirling since Brendan Hoffman was named to succeed Bud Bergren as president and chief executive officer of the York, Pa.-based department store group on Jan. 24.

Word of the nonrenewal was disclosed in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to Bon-Ton’s April filing with the SEC on the amendment to Buccina’s contract, he would be entitled to two times his base salary, or about $1.6 million, upon nonrenewal or termination, conditioned upon a general release of claims by the executive.

Buccina didn’t return a call requesting comment Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Bon-Ton said that Tim Grumbacher will fill the new post of strategic initiatives officer of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. when he steps down as executive chairman of the company on Feb. 7.

Grumbacher, Bon-Ton’s largest shareholder with 24.4 percent of its common stock, remains a director of the York, Pa.-based department store chain.

The move is in accordance with the succession plan outlined by Bon-Ton in November and set in motion last week with Hoffman’s appointment as ceo.

Bergren will succeed Grumbacher as chairman after serving as president and ceo since August 2004. He joined the company in 2003 as vice chairman following its acquisition of The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp., which he had headed as ceo.

Grumbacher, a Bon-Ton director since 1967, has held senior posts with the firm since 1977. He became ceo in 1985 and chairman in 1991.

Bon-Ton operates 274 stores in 23 states and operates under nameplates including Bon-Ton, Carson Pirie Scott, Younkers and Parisian.

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