Wakefern Food Corp., the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative, recently appointed Neil Falcone as CFO and Karen Meleta as chief communications officer. Its member companies own and operate supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners.
Falcone, formerly VP of ShopRite financial services (SFS) and corporate finance, replaces Doug Wille, who retired recently after 43 years with the company. Meleta, Wakefern’s VP of consumer and corporate communications for 13 years, is the first to be named chief communications officer for the company.
Falcone started his Wakefern career at Price Rite Marketplace in 2007 before being promoted to director of ShopRite financial services. He was promoted to VP of SFS and corporate finance in 2015. Before joining Wakefern, Falcone held leadership positions with Waldbaum’s, A&P and Levitz Furniture. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dowling College School of Business in New York and lives on Long Island with his wife Julie and three children.
He brings significant retail experience to his new role as CFO at Wakefern, where he is helping chart the course for the cooperative’s long-term financial growth and success. Falcone and his finance team are developing the important tools and technology necessary to deliver leading financial services and analysis for Wakefern members and supermarket banners.
In her new role, Meleta will continue to oversee all aspects of Wakefern’s communications, public relations and reputation management. She also drives stakeholder messaging across internal communications, public policy, sustainability, corporate philanthropy, media relations, crisis communications and government affairs. Meleta has spearheaded company sustainability efforts, with special focus on developing programs to reduce food waste at retail as well as creating seafood sustainability and animal welfare guidelines.
Another key initiative under her guidance is ShopRite Partners In Caring, ShopRite and Wakefern’s signature hunger-fighting initiative, and she has helped raise the profile of that program over the years through innovative and impactful cause marketing campaigns.
Meleta has been with Keasbey, New Jersey-based Wakefern Food Corp. for more 20 years. Prior to joining Wakefern, she was a communications consultant to Fortune 500 companies including Unilever, Parke-Davis, Lancome and the Home Shopping Network. She also spent nearly a decade at Avon Products Inc. She received a bachelor’s degree from New York University and holds an MBA from Rutgers University. Meleta resides in Gillette, New Jersey, with her husband Robert and their two sons.