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Victor L. Lund has been named co-chief executive officer of the Salt Lake-based American Stores Co. to serve with J.L. Scott for a "planned transition period," after which Scott will retire and Lund will become president and CEO.

The company said Scott, 62, will remain on American Stores' board of directors after retirement.The move, announced following a meeting of the company's board of directors Tuesday, was said to be part of American Stores' "planned senior management succession."

The company also said H. Prentice Merritt, 57, was named executive vice president of planning and development. Teresa Beck, 37, was named executive vice president of administration.

Directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend on American Stores' common stock of 17.5 cents per common share payable April 6 to shareholders of record March 27.

"During the past three years, we have positioned the company to focus on its most profitable markets while reducing our debt," Scott said after the meeting.

"We are now ready to embark on a new direction of internal growth of our core operations," Scott said. "It is imperative for us to ensure a smooth and orderly transition of senior management. The election of Vic Lund to serve as co-chief executive officer with me will provide the foundation for the company to move forward as it enters a new era."

American Stores is structured as a holding company that provides a variety of support services to its three subsidiaries, which reported total 1991 sales of $20.1 billion. The company's grocery and combination stores subsidiaries operate 1,013 stores, and American Drug Stores operates the drug side of 225 combination stores and 475 stand-alone drug stores.

The executives who head those retail subsidiaries are:

- Lawrence A. Del Santo, chairman and CEO of Lucky Stores Inc., a California grocery and combination food and drug retailer.

- Alan D. Stewart, chairman and CEO of Jewel Companies Inc. which operates Acme Markets Inc. in Philadelphia, Jewel Food Stores Inc. in the Chicago area, and Star Market, a Boston food retailer;

- David L. Maher, chairman, CEO and president of American Drug Stores Inc., which operates Osco Drug, in the Chicago area, and Sav-on, in the Los Angeles market.

Commenting on Lund's promotion, American Stores Chairman L.S. "Sam" Skaggs said in a prepared statement that Lund "has the experience and knowledge of the company and its holding company structure to continue our program of building American Stores into one of the most profitable food and drug retailers in America . . . The company is well-positioned to maintain its leadership position in the industry."

Lund, 44, joined American Stores in 1977 after having been associated with the company for five years as an audit executive with Ernst & Young, public accounting firm.

At American Stores Co., he has been senior vice president of financial accounting, senior vice president in the office of the president, executive vice president, president and chief financial officer and most recently was vice chairman, chief financial and administrative officer. He has also served as vice chairman of Alpha Beta Stores Inc.

He is a certified public accountant, holds a master of business administration degree from the University of Utah, and is a graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

Lund is a director of First Interstate Bank of Utah and serves on the board of Judge Memorial Catholic High School. He and his wife, Linda, have two children. Lund served in the Army in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971.