Central Grocers President And CEO Denges To Retire

Jim Denges

Jim Denges

Ken Nemeth to take helm Aug. 4

Central Grocers, a leading grocery cooperative, has announced the retirement of president and CEO Jim Denges. Denges leaves after a 35-year career with Central Grocers, the last six in the current leadership positions. The board of directors has chosen Ken Nemeth as Denges’s replacement.

Ken Nemeth
Ken Nemeth

Denges replaced Joe Caccamo as president and CEO in August of 2007 after serving as VP and assistant GM. Through a series of acquisitions, facilities expansion and operations improvements, sales have grown more than 60 percent during Denges’s tenure as CEO.

“After three and a half decades of commitment to Central Grocers, our members, and our stores, I could not be more pleased with where our company stands today,” said Denges in a statement. “We have experienced sustained growth and established exceptional operating efficiencies across our facilities. I am confident that I am leaving Central Grocers well situated for continued success as we near our second century of service.”

Nemeth joined Central Grocers as EVP and COO in March of 2012 after serving as president and CEO of Valu Merchandisers Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) in Kansas City, Kan.

“I appreciate the confidence that Jim and the board of directors have placed in me,” said Nemeth. “We’re working toward a smooth transition and I look forward to continuing the exceptional work that has been done by employees and members at all levels of this organization.”

Based in Joliet, Central Grocers maintains a 1 million-s.f. distribution center and operates a fleet of more than 80 trucks and 400 trailers. The co-op employs 600 full and part-time employees at the wholesale level and includes more than 6,000 employees when all retail outlets are factored in.

The leadership transition will coincide with the end of Central Grocer’s fiscal year on Aug. 4. Denges will remain involved as a consultant to the board of directors.

Founded in 1917, Central Grocers has grown to become the nation’s seventh largest grocery cooperative on consolidated annual sales of more than $2 billion. Cooperative members range from 3,000-s.f. neighborhood grocers to 100,000-s.f. warehouse outlets. Central Grocers supplies more than 20,000 products, including dry groceries, deli products, fresh produce and meats, dairy and frozen foods, to more than 500 retail stores in the Midwest market.

For more information regarding Central Grocers, visit central-grocers.com.

About The Author

A 10-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.