Screen shot 2014-07-01 at 1.39.13 PMThorntons is bumping its COO up to president and No. 2 in command behind CEO Matt Thornton.

In October, Tony Harris will become president of the Louisville-based gasoline retailer/convenience store chain, one of the largest privately held companies based in Kentucky, with more than $2.3 billion in 2012 revenue.

Thornton will continue as CEO, according to media reports and a news release.

Harris has been with Thorntons for his entire 20-year convenience industry career. He has held various positions including director of IT projects, vice president of information technology and facility services, and most recently, vice president of operations.

Harris was promoted to COO, according to the release.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in management, information systems from Western Kentucky University. Harris also has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, according to the release.

In other managment changes, Mike Woerner, chief people officer, will take over as COO in October. (No, we’ve never heard of a chief people officer, either. We’re guessing this is the top Thorntons HR position.) Woerner joined Thorntons in 2009 with 30 years of retail experience at Wawa and Dollar General. He holds an MBA from St. Joseph’s University in St. Louis.

About the company Thorntons operates more than 174 gasoline and convenience stores, car washes and travel plazas in six states: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Florida and Tennessee. The Louisville-based company was founded by Matt Thornton’s father James in 1971. It’s one of the leading independent gasoline and convenience chain retailers in the U.S.. The privately held company also distributes petroleum products through its wholly owned Thornton Transportation Company and operates a river bulk storage terminal in Louisville.

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