Distributors Executive News Nonfood Northeast

UNFI Makes Changes To Senior Management Team


United Natural Foods has made a number of changes within the company’s senior management team. It also has extended the employment agreement of Chairman and CEO Steven L. Spinner through July 31, 2021.

“Our vision for industry transformation is taking hold as we continue to integrate and provide our customers with scale, services and differentiated distribution alternatives. Development of our talent and succession planning are part of my and the UNFI board’s responsibilities, and we are confident the leadership changes being announced will serve as an enabler toward long-term success,” Spinner said.

Senior management appointments and changes are:

  • John Howard, who has served as interim CFO since August 2019, has been appointed CFO, effective Feb. 9;
  • Eric Dorne, who serves as the company’s chief information officer (CIO), chief administrative officer (CAO) and oversees the company’s Integration Office and Canadian Business, has been appointed chief operating officer, effective March 8;
  • Sean Griffin, currently UNFI’s chief operating officer, has announced his retirement effective July 31. Griffin will focus on continuing the company’s business transformation as well as supporting other key business initiatives. He will remain with the company as an advisor until November 2020;
  • Chris Testa, president and chief marketing officer, will take on additional responsibilities leading UNFI’s professional services, supplier services, customer care and the company’s Canadian division, and will report directly to Spinner.

“I am pleased to recognize the contributions of John, Eric and Chris with these new appointments and expanded responsibilities,” Spinner said. “John quickly earned the respect of our finance and leadership teams while serving as our interim CFO, and he has a great vision for directional changes he is ready to implement as we continue to strengthen our finance organization. Eric has consistently delivered strong results in his nine years as part of the UNFI team, and I have great confidence that he will continue to do so in his new role as COO. Lastly, since joining UNFI a decade ago, Chris has established a track record of driving sustainable growth, and I look for more of this in the future. I am excited to continue working with each of them in their new roles as we continue to position UNFI as the distributor of choice across the United States and Canada.”   

“I truly appreciate Sean’s leadership and dedication during his 10 years at UNFI and particularly over the past 18 months as we have successfully integrated Supervalu at a faster pace than originally anticipated,” Spinner said. “Sean agreed to extend his time with UNFI following the acquisition of Supervalu and we charted our path forward with his guidance. Sean is a tremendous leader and great friend, and we all wish him all the best in his retirement.”

The company also announced additional leadership news Feb. 6:

Paul Green, currently UNFI’s chief supply chain officer, will take on a new role as president, fresh, where he will lead the company’s meat and produce merchandising teams and will report directly to Spinner. Green will continue serving as chief supply chain officer (CSCO) until a successor is named.

Mike Stigers, currently Cub CEO and EVP, fresh, will transition UNFI’s fresh teams to Green, once he has completed his move to his new role. Stigers will focus on leading Cub and continuing the sale process for the Minnesota-based grocery retailer and also will report directly to Spinner.

Providence, Rhode Island-based UNFI has searches underway for a new chief information officer and CSCO, both of whom will report to Dorne.

The company is also creating a new SVP, brands role to further build its differentiated and exclusive private brands offerings and oversee UNFI corporate branding initiatives. This position will report to Testa.

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