Kansas City, Kansas-based Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. has announced Jeff Pedersen, EVP and chief sales and support officer, is retiring after 45 years in the grocery business, effective December. He will be succeeded by Emile Breaux.
Pedersen began his grocery career in 1976 with Hinky Dinky. After joining AWG in 1997, he has played a key role in many of the growth opportunities for AWG throughout the years.
He moved from Kansas City to the Nashville Division in 2003 as VP of merchandising. He later transferred to Oklahoma City as AWG built a new replacement division and became SVP and division manager. In 2013, Pedersen moved back to Kansas City to become SVP of member services. In 2015, he became EVP of division operations and, in 2018, was asked to lead in a new role as EVP and chief sales and support officer.
“Although I am nervous and excited to begin my retirement, I am even more excited to see the great things on the horizon for AWG/VMC and the members,” Pedersen said. “I believe with Emile Breaux stepping into my role, AWG will continue our momentum in helping the members in the areas of sales and support for many years to come.”
Breaux will succeed Pedersen in the role of SVP of sales and member support, effective Sept. 20. He will assume the same responsibilities as Pedersen, leading sales and services, which includes marketing, advertising, retail business solutions, store engineering, Design Source Group, Valu Merchandisers and Media Solutions Corp. Breaux also will continue to oversee real estate as he did in his previous role.
Breaux joined AWG in 2019 as SVP of regional supply chain operations. In this role, he provided regional leadership within the Gulf Coast Division and supported and led multiple supply chain strategic projects within the company.
Breaux has experience in all areas of the grocery business, leading wholesale distribution business units and serving independent grocers throughout his career. Previously, he served as the president and CEO of Associated Grocers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“Jeff Pedersen has built his career on creating and maintaining excellent relationships with teammates, members and vendors alike,” said Breaux. “While we will miss him at AWG, the foundation of meaningful relationships he has created in this role will make the transition as smooth as possible for all involved.”
AWG is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,100 member companies and more than 3,100 locations throughout 28 states from eight full-line wholesale divisions. The consolidated sales for AWG are $10.6 billion.
In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies which provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, print and digital marketing services, health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmaceutical products, specialty foods, and natural and organic products.