United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) said April 22 that in order to accelerate its integration of Supervalu into one organization, it now will operate under a national UNFI leadership team. UNFI says the change will advance its execution of its long-term strategic objectives and short-term synergy, revenue and EBITDA growth objectives. UNFI completed the acquisition of Supervalu Inc. in October 2018.
As part of the personnel changes related to the unification plan, Sean Griffin will take on the expanded role of chief operating officer (COO) in addition to serving as CEO of Supervalu. Griffin will oversee all of UNFI’s sales, services, operations, merchandising and retail functions. During his nine years with UNFI, Griffin has served in several senior leadership roles, including CEO from 2014-18. He has served as Supervalu CEO since October 2018. Prior to joining UNFI, Griffin was East Region broadline president for Performance Food Group. He also has held various leadership roles with U.S. Foodservice, Alliant Foodservice and Sysco Corp.
“We feel very good about the work accomplished over the last six months to integrate UNFI and Supervalu, to align our people and to implement the necessary process and systems changes,” said Steven Spinner, UNFI chairman and CEO. “As such, we’re now well positioned to accelerate our migration to one company. Sean is the ideal candidate to assume his previous role as our chief operating officer where he’ll influence and guide sales and operations across our entire organization.”
UNFI’s executive team also includes: Chris Testa, president and chief marketing officer; Mike Zechmeister, CFO; Jill Sutton, chief legal officer, general counsel and corporate secretary; Danielle Benedict, chief human resources officer; Mike Stigers, EVP-fresh and CEO of Cub; Paul Green, chief supply chain officer; and Eric Dome, chief administrative officer and chief information officer.
New UNFI board member named
UNFI also has appointed James Muehlbauer to its board of directors, expanding its size to nine and adding expertise in strategic objectives. Muehlbauer served as EVP and chief financial and administrative officer for The Valspar Corp from 2013-17. Before joining Valspar, Muehlbauer served as EVP and CFO of Best Buy Co. from 2007-13, SVP and CFO of Best Buy’s domestic businesses from 2003-07 and VP and CFO of Musicland from 2002-03. Since 2011, Muehlbauer has served on the board of overseers for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
“Jim’s extensive financial background with strong commercial and leadership skills will make him a valuable addition to our Board of Directors,” Spinner said. “His knowledge and experience in broad strategic transitions and large-scale integration efforts directly aligns with the qualifications and expertise identified through our Board refreshment process.”