Carole Christianson, COO of the Western Association of Food Chains, has announced her intention to retire later this year.
Culminating a 50-year career in the food and beverage industry and more than 15 years at the helm of the WAFC, Christianson will be retained as an advisor to work with her successor to ensure a smooth, transparent transition.
“I would like to personally congratulate Carole on her retirement. There has been no better supporter of education in the CPG and retail industry than Carole and, although we are sad to see her go, we are excited for her to begin this next chapter of her life,” said Scott Drew, 2022-23 WAFC president and chairman, president, Smart & Final.
“We wish her continued happiness and joy in retirement, as we know she will be just as successful as she was at educating those in our industry. We appreciate all Carole has done for us both personally and professionally, she will be missed.”
Before joining WAFC, Christianson spent more than 29 years in the food and beverage industry, culminating with her role at Coca-Cola as VP of national accounts.
In 2003, she established her own venture “Christianson West,” leveraging her network with retailers in the Western U.S. with her first client being Kellogg’s. In 2005, Christianson was retained by the WAFC to establish a formal business meeting process for the 2006 and 2007 annual WAFC conventions.
In 2020, Christianson and her late husband Paul were awarded the “Spirit of Life Award” by the City of Hope as founders of Kids 4Hope, raising more than $17.1 million to date. Christianson was recognized by the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business as the USC Food Industry Executive of the Year in April 2021.
“Carole has inspired industry leaders to give their best to continually raise the bar to support education through her ongoing mantra of ‘best ever,’” said Greg McNiff, 2000-22 WAFC president and chairman, president, Stater Bros. Markets.
“More importantly, Carole has taught us all two things: First, how retail, wholesale and CPG leaders can build meaningful relationships to drive positive change and second, how education truly changes people’s lives. We will be forever grateful for her outstanding leadership and friendship.”
For more information about Christianson and the WAFC, visit wafc.com.