Neal Berube, CEO of Associated Food Stores, has announced his retirement, officially taking place Dec. 30, 2020. Upon his departure, Robert Obray, who currently serves as the company’s EVP and CFO, will assume the role of CEO.
Berube served for 30 years at AFS, beginning in 1990. He has held the title of CEO for nine years. Prior to CEO, he served as an EVP of AFS and president of Fresh Market Inc. Berube also has served as the chief operating officer and CFO.
Prior to his tenure at AFS, Berube was employed by Deloitte in Salt Lake City, Utah, as a staff and senior accountant. He also worked for United Savings Bank and Western Mortgage Loan Corp. and held the titles of controller, VP, SVP and CFO.
Berube graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Weber State University in 1979 and earned CPA status in 1981. In his previous positions, Berube was responsible for all AFS financial functions, information technology and logistics. He also has overseen the consolidated function of procurement, advertising and merchandising.
Berube has served on numerous boards and is currently serving on boards for the National Grocers Association, Food Marketing Institute, Intermountain Health Care and Brookshire Brothers Grocery. He previously served on the following boards: Utah Food Industry, Wells Fargo Northern Utah Community Board, Bangerter Advisory Commission to optimize Utah State Government, Ogden Industrial Development Corporation, Weber Economic Development, Intermountain Organ Donor Recovery Services and the Dialysis Research Foundation.
Berube is married and the father of three sons. He has also been an adjunct professor of accounting at Weber State University for nine years, and now serves as the mayor of North Ogden City.
During his tenure, he led the AFS team to numerous accomplishments, including:
- Developing the Farr West distribution center, a one-million-square-foot warehouse – (approximately 21 football fields).
- Helping AFS reach historical levels of profitability.
- Creating Red Button Vintage Creamery and Berube’s favorite ice cream flavor, black licorice.
- Launching AFS’ first loyalty program and online shopping platform.
- Adopting a new primary exclusive brand, Food Club.
- Growing Associated Retail Operations, including the ground-up development of a Lin’s grocery store on Mall Drive in St. George, and the licensing of corporate store brands to member owners of Associated Food Stores.
- Appointing the first female vice president in history of the AFS.
- Implementing a construction loan and development program allowing members to acquire stores in prime locations.
“Neal has done an outstanding job as CEO. Associated Food Stores has been fortunate to have such a remarkable leader, responsible for guiding the team through many milestones and achievements. I am lucky to say that I know Neal well, and can personally speak to his integrity and kindness. He will be missed,” Obray said.
AFS recognized Berube for his leadership, dedication and passion for the success of the independent grocer, as well as the amount of genuine care he continually demonstrated with the team at AFS. His contributions and leadership at AFS have been impactful and significant, leaving an incredible legacy, the company says.
AFS is an independent retailer-owned warehouse based in Salt Lake City, Utah, which provides complete warehouse facilities and services to more than 400 grocers throughout the Intermountain West.